Friday, November 12, 2010

The luxurious life of an IPCC lead author

The IPCC has sometimes been compared to a church, and it some sense it may be true. Some prelates fly first class, but others just eke out a living in some developing country trying to save souls.




This is meant to be an illustration why a broad-brushed critique of the scientists collaborating with the IPCC can be quite off the mark. In some countries, IPCC lead authors and coordinating lead authors can apply for, or may receive, extra funds from to hire personel that assist them in their assignment to write, coordinate the writing of the report, and attend  the IPCC meetings. However, other lead authors from less favoured European, i.e. theoretically developed, countries, do not receive any financial or other type of support. After being kindly asked by the corresponding national offices in charge of IPCC affairs to present your nomination as lead authors of the IPCC for the next Assessment Report (5), you are later kindly reminded that: the IPCC Buro will not cover any of your costs, that the national IPCC office will not cover any of your costs whatsoever; that should you  wish to attend the IPCC Meetings in which the preparation of the report is discussed, you should be so kind and cover your travel expenses from your research budget or from the basic funding from your institutions. And, please, do not phone us again asking for travel support. You are already fully compensated with the honor of representing our wonderful country.
And so your life as an IPCC lead author of one of this wonderful countries - where a single football player can easily earn in a year an amount close to the whole IPCC budget- may look like this: travel to China, pay the costs by yourself, stay there exactly for the days of the IPCC meeting, travel back home and start writing the IPCC report, mostly in the weekends as the teaching load and regular research projects do not allow you to devote any time during  weekdays. And Sunday night, read relevant blogs accusing you of leading a lavishly corrupt life.

Note: I am not an IPCC author

92 comments:

sHx said...

May I remind you, sir, that not every position in the world is coveted for the remuneration it offers? Power, prestige, kudos, a sense of fulfillment or an opportunity to do public good that comes with certain jobs is worth much, much more than what the job pays, if it pays anything at all. The US presidency may be the most sought after job in the world, yet it pays as little as 1 percent of what some CEOs take home in a year. Judges are chosen from among distinguished members of legal profession, yet for most of them taking a seat on the bench means substantial pay cut. Did you know that most volunteers who go to third world countries to do humanitarian work have to pay their own fare? Are you aware, sir, of an organisation called, say, Lifeline or Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders? They are almost completely set up and run by selfless volunteers, did you know that, sir?

Just because IPCC doesn't pay a cent to its servants doesn't mean there are no other rewards. Most universities would probably be delighted to have their academic staff serve as IPCC authors, and they'd be happy to cover the expenses too. Likewise, many NGOs, corporations and governments would be happy to loan their paid staff to IPCC in order to influence the outcome.

Frankly, I don't understand why non-remuneration for IPCC work is so often wheeled out as a talking point. Are we supposed to feel sorry for the doomsayers because they don't get paid for screaming out "the sky is falling, the sky is falling?"

Richard Tol said...

@eduardo
Your classification is incorrect.

IPCC authors from least developed countries receive a per diem for their travel. Typically, that is above the real subsistence cost, and the difference is quite valuable at home. Such authors typically do not contribute much to the actual writing of the chapter.

The IPCC authors that you describe are from countries that are too rich to qualify for support from the IPCC Fund, but whose governments are not interested in supporting the IPCC.

P Gosselin said...

What compels you to write such a post to begin with? And why do you remind us you are not an IPCC lead author? Rather odd.

Some institutes have the "right" opinions" and so are thus lavishly funded, even to an extent that allows them to send their scientists and supporting staff on lavish all-expenses-paid jaunts.
Other institutes that do not have the "right" opinions are funded far less generously - to an extent where their budgets are indeed too tight to allow funding of hardly any external activities, let alone all-expenses-paid IPCC jaunts.
We all know how this game is played. "Whose bread one eats, whose words one speaks."

Hans von Storch said...

It is indeed a legitimate question to ask, why scientists participate at the IPCC process - even at the cost of not having covered part or all of the costs. Maybe somebody should try to prepare a survey among the lead author.

I myself are a lead author, for WG II. My institute covers all costs. I volunteered because I thought I may be useful in improving the quality of WG II - where most of the notorious errors took place -, and helping to create more openness around the process. If I will be successful in doing so, will remain to be seen. In case of severe problems - in terms of quality and bias - I will make these public, and step down, if needed.

That my participation may shed a positive light on my organization, is a side effect I welcome.

In case of your friend, Eduardo, the question is - why is he allowing his government these unworthy tricks? He could step down and send a message to the media: "Government asks for service, but tells scientists to privately cover costs for themselves, while not lowering the regular work load".

Werner Krauss said...

According to the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, people are not only in it for the money. People try to achieve economic capital, and they try to get symbolic capital; both add up to your social capital or status (Hope I remembered that right). This is especially true in the academic world, where scientists do a lot of work without getting paid for, but being rewarded with honor and respect. Most professors are not in it for the money, otherwise they would do a decent job out there in the economic world.

Furthermore, being an IPCC author looks great in your CV (and as we know from Gilles Deleuze, in the academic world you are what is listed in your CV. Curriculum vitae means the list of your publications, career steps, grants etc). CV is the currency in a world where symbolic capital is very important. It looks good in your CV to be an IPCC author, and your university will be proud to have you.
Of course, there are pressure and interest groups. But they are of different kinds, and there are watch dogs such as HvStorch, Richard Tol or others. And they are watched, too. It is a permanent process on the way to give a reasonable, understandable and useful picture of climate change.
It is not possible to get the "real", the "true" picture - you always get institutionalized knowledge. (This is the tragedy of many skeptics, I guess: even when they have superior knowledge of some fields, nobody will be interested as long as their knowledge claim is not insitutionalised in the academic world. That's why CVs are so important: you need titles, you have to be invited to conferences, you have to receive grants etc to be heard.

Anonymous said...

I know that it's not nice to write this but maybe it has to be said:

Jehovas Witnesses are not known to be very rich and they work hard too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah's_Witnesses

Not everybody has the same opinion on what is the most important thing for humanity for let's say the next 50 years. ;-)

Yeph

eduardo said...

Different people may have different motivations, and IPCC authors are also people, so it will be speculative to generalize which personal motivations they may have. That is one of the aims of my post: to illustrate that IPCC is not equal to IPCC, and one should consider some nuances. To think that all IPCC authors have a hidden personal interests would be equivalent to assert that all skeptics are paid by the oil industry: the same type of unjustified allegation.
Economic reward in academia is generally not strong motivation, as Werner indicated. Other factors play a role, as it also happens in many other areas of life. I do not think there is anything remarkable or that may particularly applied to the IPCC authors that is not valid to other sectors.

That fact that IPCC authors do not get a remuneration from IPCC is also not surprising. Many scientist, I think virtually all, review manuscripts, act as editors for journals, teach in summer schools, etc without any monetary compensation. But some may think that there is a more materialistic incentive to become IPCC author: they travel to exotic avenues, spend nice holidays there, etc. In many cases this is wrong, and in this particular case, neither the government nor the host institution (university, research institute) would cover the travel costs, let alone any other form of compensation. It is therefore not true that 'Most universities would probably be delighted to have their academic staff serve as IPCC'. I agree that most will indeed be delighted to be able to tell the press that its academic staff serves in the IPCC, but the jolly stops there. They would not provide funds for teaching aid or travel costs. They are piggybacking on the IPCC process. In this particular case the government did proudly present the IPCC authors to the press, just to tell them a few weeks later that they should see by themselves to cover their costs. The government or universities in this case have obviously no interest in influencing the IPCC report. They are even not interested in getting a good advice from science.

wflamme said...

It possibly explains some general IPCC bias towards saving the world's climate disregarding devastating economic consequences. :-)

Marco said...

wflamme, I have seen the smiley, but I'm not sure how much you are really joking. Fact is that the IPCC as such does not make any judgement calls on what should be done. It merely discusses the most likely scenarios from a climate perspective.

Marco said...

I think the situation that Eduardo describes, as well as what Hans von Storch notes, is not different from any other situation. My university would love for me to get EU funding, and especially if I manage to be the coordinator. Its 'incentive' for being a coordinator is some additional funding, enough so I can hire a secretary and perhaps a little bit more. Just being in a EU project gets me essentially nothing (beyond the actual funding). Unless you have a nice boss, not even the teaching load is changed. Thus, the only reason to be a coordinator or be part of an EU project is the international contacts, the experience itself, and a CV booster.

Then there are all the professional organisations. Why would anyone become the chairman of a subgroup of a large organisation like the AGU? Contacts, contacts, contacts would likely be the most important reason, followed by "influence" (in whatever form that may be).

If we want nice trips, we can just use our regular funding to visit conferences. No need to add the extra work of also having to write reports.

Anonymous said...

I also have to say that we laymen are very grateful for the work you do here on this blog. Because you can only loose. But you can also gain credibility for the rest of your colleagues who still think they are holier than the planet.

Many thanks also to Misses Curry, both Mr Pielkes and Mr Tol amongst others.

Yeph

Anonymous said...

To all above which seem they do not understand the reason Eduardo has to write this post. It is clear for me. There are literally thousands of WEB pages around us stating that IPCC's people are in it for the gold, they seem to be greedy people, just that. I think it is completely legitimate and timely to explain that reality is something different in fact. I appreciate your comment, Eduardo. It must be said. People must know it.


Jon Saenz

Hans von Storch said...

Macro/ 9 - in your response to wflamme - true, the IPCC makes no political recommendations, but its leading personal does so in the media - a fact duly noticed in the IAC report. And other, publicly visible scientists, who are often associated as being connected ot the IPCC, make such statements.

That is a problem.

Marco said...

Hans,

Pachauri has made some suggestions, true. You could say that that is a problem, because he is invariably identified as chairman of the IPCC.

That other publicly visible scientists have made suggestions, and happen to also have contributed to the IPCC reports, is in my opinion an artificially created "problem". As Chris Mooney has already pointed out, it really does not matter much what a scientist says, there will always be people who accuse said scientist of advocacy. It's only different when this scientist attempts to gain authority by pointing to his work for the IPCC as a reason recommendation should be respected. I have not seen any scientist do so, but feel free to correct me on that one.

itisi69 said...

"And Sunday night, read relevant blogs accusing you of leading a lavishly corrupt life."

Eduardo, relevant blogs, I mean, you're beyond that, dontcha? Why don't you focus on the real IPCC problems?

Anonymous said...

Hans, you said: "That my participation [in IPCC] may shed a positive light on my organization, is a side effect I welcome."
My feeling is that this is not true any more. Perhaps in your personal case as you are perceived as honest and outspoken - which is viewed very positively in lunch discussions I have with scientists - my guess is that GKSS may perhaps still profit. However, I think a time has come where scientific organizations that still openly associate themselves with IPCC may do harm to their reputation as scientific institutes. Its maybe only a slight effect, basically only a feeling, but I would advise my children not to choose such institutes, as for example the AWI, for pursuing a PhD any more

Anonymous said...

The suggestions of the Interacademy study to improve functioning of the IPCC should lead to a more structured organization with a budget which could handle the travel issue.

The real point, as mentioned above, is that the IPCC has operated on a shoestring and a ball of wax, depending on volunteers and the goodwill of other institutions. It is time to abandon that model, but it is also important to understand that while travel could easily be supported, stipends are unlikely to be

Werner Krauss said...

@anonymous # 16
your comment ends with the following statement:
"Its maybe only a slight effect, basically only a feeling, but I would advise my children not to choose such institutes, as for example the AWI, for pursuing a PhD any more."

Could you please explain in more detail why you would advise your children in this way? What exactly are you afraid of? Political indoctrination? Bad science? Bad reputation? Bad for their future career chances?
I am really surprised by your conclusion and would like to know more about the motivation behind it.

Hans von Storch said...

May I ask our "anonymous"-participants of our exchange to choose an alias - so that we others can discriminate the different "anonymous'"? For iinstacne by signing with an alias. Thanks, Hans

eduardo said...

@ 19

I would certainly agree with you. The IPCC would benefit from a more solid infrastructure, see our previous post .

I think it would instructive to someday have a History of the IPCC. Its present structure reflects an attempt by the scientist to communicate their worries about climate change, rather than the desire of politicians to know more about the possible climate change impacts. For me, the lack of real funding and of a clear structure is sign of a not very strong interest from policy makers.
On the other hand, policy makers do show a strong desire to control the Summary for Policy Makers, which in theory looks weird.

wflamme said...

Marco,

I suspect some IPCC participants to suffer from ideological bias. But you accuse them of lacking common sense - participating in a process that offers zero chance for 'saving souls'.

So three possibilities here:

a) Eduardo's judgement was wrong: They're not missionaries.

b) They are missionaries and leave traces of their bias.

c) They are simply nuts and their missionary efforts will be completely disregarded.

Marco said...

wflamme, there actually are a few more options, options that come up when you do not draw unsubstantiated conclusions from what I say.

Once again, I said the IPCC does not make policy. This does not equate to me accusing them of lacking common sense, nor me accusing the IPCC being a process that offers zero chance for 'saving souls'.

As a small hint of what I *do* mean: an informed decision is usually better than a decision based on nothing.

wflamme said...

"Once again, I said the IPCC does not make policy."

Marco,

I guess that's

- why they were established by the UNEP (UNEP-Policy: "To provide general policy guidance for the direction and coordination of environmental programmes within the United Nations system"),

- why they call themselves 'Intergouvernmental Panel',

- why they say they don't do any scientific research,

- why they release summaries for policy makers,

- why they have these missionaries involved in the process.

Marco said...

wflamme,

In the absence of evidence, you now try the "guilty by proxy" argumentation. Sorry, I don't fall for such bad argumentation. You'll have to come with evidence that the IPCC makes policy.

By the way, the fact they make summaries for POLICY MAKERS should give you a hint. Why make an SPM, if you are the one making the policy...?

Your last remark is just inflammatory libel.

wflamme said...

Marco,

my last remark was based upon observations presented here by Eduardo ("... others just eke out a living in some developing country trying to save souls"). Just fight it out with him, will you?

As for the rest:

I don't try the "guilty by proxy" argumentation - I just present things one has to believe in to conclude the IPCC doesn't try to shape policy. You've fallen for all of this already but you claim you haven't because you dislike the irony.

http://www.mtv.de/videos/268015-shaggy-it-wasn-t-me.html

Marco said...

wflamme,

You still do not provide any evidence that the IPCC makes policy. Too difficult a question?

Apparently...

Hans von Storch said...

Marco, maybe the term "makes policy" may be understood in different ways? This is often the case, when two people do not agree - that they mean something different. Maybe you should define, rephrase what you mean? - Hans

Marco said...

Hans, maybe it can be understood in different ways, but I have already said in an earlier post what I meant:
The IPCC does not make judgement calls on what should be done.

Which equates to not making policy, nor even policy recommendations. Unless you consider "if CO2 emissions are progressing like these scenarios, we can expect (within some limits of uncertainty) the following impacts, which are bad" a policy recommendation...

wflamme said...

Marco,

when did you last consider a food tax for the wealthy nations to combat malnourishment of the poor nations? Has there ever been something like a 'Kyoto Nourishment Treaty' considered ... much less been signed?

Same for diseases like Malaria, AIDS and countless others. Same for human rights, equality, education, wars and civil wars, border conflicts, trade barriers, subsidies, hazardous waste management, corruption, market protection, civil protection, infrastructural deficits - you name it, we missed every challenge by miles. Instead we keep concentrating upon a 'problem' that we can hardly detect among background noise nor attribute beyond doubt in half a century's observation - far less tackle it given the circumstances.
Where is the AR0-consensus stating such a miniscule issue must become and remain the permanent no.1 priority in global politics?

If it's not politics to priorize challenges deliberately - what is?

Three questions. Your turn.

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Hans
" And other, publicly visible scientists, who are often associated as being connected ot the IPCC, make such statements.

That is a problem."

That is obviously not a problem for an open society. Everyone has the right to express his/her views particularly on issues he/she is thinking about a lot. Asking for the resignation of civil rights from a specific group of people just because they are experts on a specific issue is completely absurd tu my opinion and is not done in no other part of public discussion.

Economic experts of all political colours and flavours (and all supported by public money) express their views on what the salary rise for the next year should be at any occasion on all TV channels. Should they not be allowed to do so just on the basis of "being expert"? And what should be the legal basis of such rule?

Hans von Storch said...

Georg, you voiced this position before. This is in principle a very good position, but somebody provided this counterexample - is it ok if the president of the ECB publicly expresses his reservation to buy Greek bonds for his personal portfolio? Or if hje speculates in public about the fate of another currency?

This may not be his personal problem, but it may be a problem for the organization he is representing during his working hours.

Marco said...

wflamme,

None of your questions are related to the discussion we were having: does the IPCC make policy?

I am thus first awaiting your evidence that the IPCC makes policy.

Marco said...

Hans, your argument again essentially focuses on Pachauri, yet you made a much more general statement. I asked you to provide examples, yet you did not.

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Hans
as Marco said, at best your argument and your comparison might (even there I have objections) be valid for Pachauri. But I thought (might be this is the misunderstanding) we are speaking of every single IPCC contributor.
You are running here a blog exchanging opinions on climate change and sometimes you express your own views on the alleged gravity (or non-gravity) of the climate issue. How do you bring in line this activity (perfectly fine and to my opinion neccessary for a democratic discussion) with your general rule of omerta for all IPCC authors (you are one of them)?
My feeling is that you are targeting just one specific opinion and one person and build an entire rule around Pachauri.
The EZB president to my opinion is rather an exception than the rule. Look for statements in genaral of experts on nuclear safety, health issues, economy, etc etc. They all speak up whenever they want and/or been asked.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco
Last year the Copenhagen Diagnosis
was published by a group of authors some of which contributed to various IPCC reports in different capacities.

This document gives the impression that the scientific consensus as expressed in AR4 is now superseded by new knowledge. This new knowledge is said to be more alarming than AR4. (There are statements of dramatic sea level rise which are controversial, they were discussed also on the Klimazwiebel).

Do these authors have the right to publish their report? Of course they do. No one denies their civil right to do so.
We are talking about the IPCC's alleged policy neutrality. While the IPCC does not make a statement like "Emissions cut of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 needed for industrial countries for 2 degree C limit", the Copenhagen Diagnosis does.
This group of authors tries to convey the message (to policy makers and the public) that they are the world leading experts who can give an authoritative update just in time for the crucial negotiations. Their link to the IPCC is intentionally stressed. The authors do not say that they speak in their private capacity as citizens and that their statements should be taken as such.
Instead, they give the impression that their update on the state of knowledge is warranted by the IPCC, that the IPCC will confirm this in due course and that the policy recommendations are justified.

In my view this misleading and dishonest. They should have said that the IPCC did not go far enough (and could not express policy recommendations because of its remit) and that therefore they feel THEY need to come out and make such statements and recommendations. Instead they used the cover of the IPCC (has the IPCC ever commented on this? Is it in a position to do so? Would this change under their new rules? Or under IAC recommendations?)

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Rainer
"This group of authors tries to convey the message (to policy makers and the public) that they are the world leading experts who can give an authoritative update just in time for the crucial negotiations. Their link to the IPCC is intentionally stressed"

And they were not world leading experts (who, as everyone knows, sometimes are right and sometimes are wrong) according to you? Any non world leading expert on the author list? Do the authors of the Hartwell paper give the impression that they hardly know what they are talking about? Do they undersell their qualifications and present their paper as a sort of coincidental product of some amateurs who just happened to plug together some sentences on climate change policies?
My impression actually that the author list of the Hartwell paper is an explosion of "Doctors" and "Professors" and "Directors" of all kind. Just the usual world leading experts. Some fishing for authority there as well?

"In my view this misleading and dishonest. "
Very typical by the way for all opinions which are not agreeing with its own opinion.

The official justification of the Kopenhagen consensus was a sort of an update. Two years after the IPCC report! There is no need for that and moreover I think there shoul be just one IPCC report all 10 years. There is simply not enough new stuff that policy should be interested in and the entire undertaking cost too much energy in any case. But from something "not needed" to something "dishonest and misleading" it's a long way, in particular if one publishes very similar kind of policy/science poetry.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Georg--
sorry, I did not get your point. Do you think that I am somehow related to the IPCC and make statements on its behalf?

Hans von Storch said...

Georg, where did you get the impression from that "we are speaking of every single IPCC contributor"? Most of the IPCC contributors are scientists, who do not use their position as a contributor for IPCC for promoting their own private, entirely legitimate political ideas. I know many of them, and hold the highest respect for most of them. But certainly to all.

In case of Reiner's comment, the key sentence is "Their link to the IPCC is intentionally stressed." The question we have to ask - did the authors use their previous contribution to IPCC to add credibility to their assertions presented as Copenhagen Accord? In that case, IPCC would have "made policy", not intentionally by the organization, but by scientists, who exploit the good name of the IPCC for political purposes.

Why do you think the authors of the Hartwell paper are "amateurs"? Given the bredth of the issues involved, we are all to large extent amateurs. Do you think the Hartwellers have no competence in any climate-relevant field? Are you an amateur in issues of politics of climate?

Marco said...

Reiner, even the Copenhagen Diagnosis does not make policy. It offers a policy goal: significant reduction of CO2.

Yes, it noted that several authors were IPCC authors. That it makes ill deemers immediately upset, because it supposedly would suggest this is IPCC endorsed...sorry, I don't buy that. To me it is nothing more than an Appeal to Authority (but not of the fallacious kind) by pointing out that the authors are not nobodies in the field.

Reiner Grundmann said...

The IPCC CANNOT make policy, only governments can. The question is whether the IPCC stays true to its mission, which is being policy relevant, yet not policy prescriptive.
Why did the authors of the Copenhagen Diagnosis need the appeal to IPCC authority? They are all qualified academically. They are from famous universities. But they thought it necessary to make the link to the IPCC and create an impression which is wrong.

wflamme said...

Marco,

just look what the cat dragged in...

And if you'd please have a look here:

"In the next seven years the co-chairs will (...) lay out the groundwork for worldwide emissions trading."

Your claim was: "Fact is that the IPCC as such does not make any judgement calls on what should be done. It merely discusses the most likely scenarios from a climate perspective."

Marco said...

Reiner, I have had a discussion with wflamme about the IPCC being policy makers. Thanks for pointing out they are not.

That the Copenhagen Diagnosis authors, in your opinion, create a wrong impression is on your table. I did not link their report to the IPCC at all. I know many others who did not. Question thus is, why did you?

Marco said...

wflamme,

You are mistaking a meeting of government representatives with the IPCC. And from the second link you conveniently forget this quote:

" “We need this expertise,” says Edenhofer, and stresses that it is not the IPCC’s mandate to make policies, but to be an honest broker between science and society by providing the information necessary to make sensible decisions."

Worldwide emission trading is a policy decided by the governments. The IPCC will investigate which possibilities there are, and discuss possibilities and challenges.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco
The problem is that the authors of the Copenhagen Diagnosis make the link to the IPCC themselves. I quote from their statement:

"The purpose of this report is to synthesize the most policy-relevant climate science published since the close-off of material for the last IPCC report. The rationale is two-fold.

First, this report serves as an interim evaluation of the evolving science midway through an IPCC cycle - IPCC AR5 is not due for completion until 2013.

Second, and most important, the report serves as a handbook of science updates that supplements the IPCC AR4 in time for Copenhagen in December 2009, and any national or international climate change policy negotiations that follow."

Sounds like a semi-official statement for the period between two official reports. It is supposed to sound like this.

You are talking about burden of proof?

Marco said...

Again, Reiner, *I* did not link the report to the IPCC process, nor did several other people I know. It is thus interesting for me to know why *you* did...or rather, why you believe the authors did this on purpose, etc. etc.

Yes, there is a burden-of-proof there.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco: the link is made by the authors, not by myself.

On a slightly different note, imagine a different group of scientists would have come up with a different manifesto, emphasizing different aspects, or maybe contradicting the Diagnosis. This would have undermined the whole IPCC process and its proclaimed position as the arbiter of the truth. A second contrasting statement could not have been tolerated (and therefore neither should have been).
Such a scenario is not hypothetical. Maybe it was before Copenhagen, but no longer.

The question arises which arrangement is better, one in which different advocates confront each other openly, or one in which there is only one representative of climate, supported at crucial times by hidden advocacy.
This of course raises the next set of question, such as: better for what? For the UNFCCC? For the IPCC? For the world climate? For effective climate policy?

Marco said...

Reiner, I have no idea what you mean with your slightly different note.

You claim that if a different group would have come with a different manifesto, "it would have undermined the whole IPCC process and its proclaimed (where does it do that?) as the arbiter of the truth".

Why?

Or are you telling us that the NIPCC reports have undermined the whole IPCC process?

sHx said...

BTW, the propensity of IPCC scientists to cite their own work in the reports over and above the work of other scientists should also count among motivations for volunteering their time.

Hans von Storch said...

Should we prepare a survey among IPCC lead authors, how they see their motivation, role, investment (of time and possibly funding), and expected benefits? Anybody volunteering? Would not be a rpresenattive survey, but would guide us in understanding the range of motiovations and approaches. - Hans

wflamme said...

Marco,

1)
So you say that contrary to this announcement they will actually not "lay out the groundwork for worldwide emissions trading" - because they do not make any judgement calls on what should be done. So they adhere to high standards by lying to us?

2)
Not quoting this (just linking) has probably been convenient for you.

Finally we end up with a lying honest broker preparing global wealth distribution and taxation saying this isn't policy. And yes, it's about protecting the global environment but we'd better get rid of the illusion that it is. War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength.

Anonymous said...

Despite the question about economic and symbolic capital (I wonder, how does one feel as a widely referenced lead author who is most often one of the first (symbolic) persons -- even the only one, as is mostly the case -- to be interviewed by a lot of ((inter-)national)) colleagues/media/laypeople and others?):

Donna Laframboise askes in the most general sense on her site especially in regards of the United Nations University (in my opinion a good question in the light of, f.ex., interest groups or a "Matthew effect", which is known in sociology of science):

      "Should UN Employees Be IPCC Lead Authors?"

Just for the heck of it: Ottmar Edenhofer (cf. Klimazwiebel elsewhere) tells in Neue Zürcher Zeitung" a parable of a new alignment of the whole world in the direction of a non-carbon [sic] global economy (See NZZ 14 Nov. 2010: "Klimapolitik verteilt das Weltvermögen neu"; version in English here) ("Was wir suchen müssen, ist eine Oase, das ist die kohlenstofffreie Weltwirtschaft.").

He sais (as (IPCC(?)) expert/private citizen(?)) also:

      "[W]e redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."

namenlos

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco:
1) I should have said different group of IPCC authors. There are of course many websites and comments out there which are unproblematic for the functioning of the IPCC, even if challenging its work (like NIPPC).
So imagine for example Mike Hulme, Hans von Storch, Richard Tol contradicting the Copenhagen diagnosis (in the week before the summit), also stating that they are highly reputed IPCC scientists.

2) The press has covered the Copenhagen Diagnosis using the word "update" quite frequently to characterise it. Update refers to IPCC of course, since the CD did not have a previous statement on which an update could be given.

Reiner Grundmann said...

From the German Press (21 Jan 2010):
Rheinische Post Duesseldorf

Wie der Weltklima-Rat arbeitet

"Der Weltklima-Rat (IPCC) stellt keine eigene Forschungen an, sondern begutachtet und verarbeitet nach eigenen Angaben ausschließlich die "neuesten wissenschaftlichen, technischen und sozioökonomischen" Erkenntnisse, die zum Verständnis des Klimawandels notwendig sind. Die Überprüfung der verwendeten Daten "ist wesentlicher Bestandteil des IPCC-Prozesses". Bislang viermal informierte der IPCC in umfangreichen Berichten über den Stand der Forschung. In ihrem ersten Report belegten die Experten 1990 die Dringlichkeit des Problems, was unter anderem ein Anstoß für den "Erd-Gipfel" von Rio 1992 und die folgenden internationalen Klimaschutzbemühungen war. Der IPCC-Report von 1995 lieferte die wissenschaftliche Fundierung für das Kyoto-Protokoll, in dem sich die meisten Industriestaaten zur Senkung ihrer Treibhaus-Emissionen verpflichteten. Den bislang letzten Bericht veröffentlichte der Rat 2007. Kurz vor dem Klima-Gipfel von Kopenhagen im Dezember legten 26 renommierte Forscher eine "Copenhagen Diagnosis" vor, die die Lücke bis zum nächsten Report füllen soll, der nicht vor 2013 zu erwarten ist. Das Papier weist etwa darauf hin, dass der Anstieg der Meeresspiegel deutlich stärker ausfallen dürfte als vom IPCC 2007 vorausgesagt."

The Copenhagen Diagnosis fills the gap.

Marco said...

wflamme,

1) I know you have the propensity to twist and turn every word and sentence as negative as possible, so anything I say would be useless in getting you to see that the IPCC report would be giving possibilities of how worldwide emissions trading may be done (policy advise), but not tell countries how it has to be done (policy making). Note that emissions trading is already a policy tool that is in place, decided by countries themselves (not the IPCC).

2) You already provided the link, why should I add it again?

Will there be wealth redistribution? Heck, anything we do, regardless of whether it is policy, results in wealth redistribution. Perhaps it is time we pay for the problems we cause elsewhere. Out of sight, out of heart is a Dutch saying.

Marco said...

Reiner,
I have seen plenty of others come with "updates". WMO had (until recently) a publication called "World Climate News". It is now a webportal. Various NMSs have come with "updates". They all "updated" the IPCC reports in one way or the other.

And I see no problem if Hans von Storch, Richard Tol and Mike Hulme would come with an "update". You appear to suggest, but I really am not certain, that this would not be allowed. I see no evidence for that. But again, I was confused about what you wrote, so perhaps you did not mean it would not be allowed. Could you clarify that, please?

Reiner Grundmann said...

Happy to clarify: it hardly could be disallowed but would undermine the function and purpose of the IPCC which was founded on the premiss of unified assessments.
The architects of the IPCC wanted to avoid a polarised debate between experts, as witnessed in many other cases (most notably in the ozone case).
But I think this public rift is unavoidable anyway now, just think about some of the names involved for AR5. Not sure how the IPCC will/can handle this.
Of course, one recommendation was to install an executive which would speak for the IPCC in between reports (or even on a regular basis). If it came to that, maybe differing comments would be disallowed, or discouraged, or be labelled as "non-representative view".

Marco said...

Reiner, thanks for the clarification. But considering the frequent "updates" by various organisations and individuals, I have not seen anyone claim it undermined the function and purpose of the IPCC. The Copenhagen Diagnosis timed their update 'better', but that's about it.

Again, I don't think an executive of the IPCC could disallow or even discourage differing views. Labeling them non-representative, at best.

Marco said...

Reiner, thanks for the clarification. But considering the frequent "updates" by various organisations and individuals, I have not seen anyone claim it undermined the function and purpose of the IPCC. The Copenhagen Diagnosis timed their update 'better', but that's about it.

Again, I don't think an executive of the IPCC could disallow or even discourage differing views. Labeling them non-representative, at best.

wflamme said...

Marco,

first you say the IPCC does not make 'policy' (judgement calls on what should be done).

Now you say the IPCC gives advice as how to establish worldwide emissions trading. Doesn't that count as 'what should be done'?


"Perhaps it is time we pay for the problems we cause elsewhere."

Perhaps? Why don't you simply pay for the problems you think you've caused elesewhere and let me pay for mine?

Anonymous said...

Marco (cf. comment # 54),

(")we(")(?) have got an equal saying in countries speaking the German language: "Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn."

I think you ask — presumably in my direction — (and with two "luxurious" questions (are both rhetoric?) beyond my understanding either for what reason and/or with whom do you deal/whom should you address) different questions and arrange them along in sequence with your answers (to wflamme?) which seem to be at first sight responsible questions in the face of possibly intended peaceful coexistences and interactions:

      "Will there be wealth redistribution? Heck, anything we do, regardless of whether it is policy, results in wealth redistribution. Perhaps it is time we pay for the problems we cause elsewhere. Out of sight, out of heart is a Dutch saying."

Not quite sure what you want to talk about exactly, but just in case for one real "problem": "We" could need the wealth in water and "fossils" potentially all the more (as likely as not) in future. And of course even in Germany, industries out of, f.ex, the chemical area, know already that "we" are able to do other and much more better things especially with certain oils or coals than burning them. — — (Here, introducing such an ethical debate can turn "dangerous"/"wicked", what I tried to avoid for my part (for the moment/on this topic):) — — And some even (seem to) want a (deathly) fight about them.

So, what you asked/answered was not my question. But I have questions there (see comment # 51).

But — or perhaps? — it will be better if I refer you directly one time more back to one specific and noticable point of Edenhofer's parable (cf. above, comment # 51)

      "[I]f we are arguing about the water supply because we cannot agree on the ethical principles, then we will die of thirst."

"We" have a got "wicked problem". I watched "Jon Stewart vs. Rachel Maddow: The Uncut Interview" at Mother Jones Website. This interview will perhaps, and with good reasons, not be of great interest here, and sometimes eventually it is boring, but what I appreciate: Both can be also over the whole distance friendly people to each other. I regard it as a useful and interesting thing, maybe at least for "journalists" or "entertainers". It is a refreshing (mutually) public approach to an ethical debate in and about certain media of "our" "luxurious life". Sorry, if I got you wrong.

namenlos

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco,
on what grounds would the 26 authors of the Copenhagen Diagnosis be legitimized to publish an "update"? Especially as many other IPCC members might not endorse the alarmist tone of the document?

Marco said...

wflamme:

Giving advice is not the same as making policy. The policy decision has already been made: worldwide emission trading. The IPCC will at best show how such trading may affect the policy goal.

Regarding your last remark: I think you are not even willing to accept your actions are causing problems elsewhere. Emissions trading would be one way of people paying for the problems CO2 (and other) emissions are causing anywhere. If you do not use many fossil fuels, you're not paying much. If you are, pay. Simple.

Marco said...

Reiner: for the same reason the WMO is legitimised to publish updates. Or *anyone* legitimised to publish updates.

Just for the fun of it, just look for "update" on google scholar. Tell me, why are all those people there legitimised to come with an "update", but do you believe the CD was not?

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco
are you saying the 26 authors are for the IPCC what the WMO is for the WMO?

Hans von Storch said...

Marco,
I appreciate your comments here, even if I do not agree. It is the variety of opinions, which is intersting and constructive.

First - would you really say "The policy decision has already been made: worldwide emission trading." Whose "policy decision"? Did India subscribe to such a policy, or the United States? Maybe in some wishful thinking, but in any concrete terms, legally binding? Ratified by the US Senate, by the Russian Duma? I had the impression that there is still a lack on consensus on a globally agreed climate policy - and that it would be a worthwhile task for the IPCC to explore different possible climate policies - enabling policymakers to make their choices.

Even if some of your recent language was a bit tough - sometimes too tough for our standards here - your claim "I think you are not even willing to accept your actions are causing problems elsewhere." sounds rather arrogant. Simply because MOST actions, which I and you take here, have repercussions somewhere else. Problem is only that there are many problems, and the issue of dominance of the west can certainly not be reduced to the climate problem. In my opinion, a core problem is our tradition of colonialism, i.e, our conviction that we in the west can tell the rest of the world what is right and what is wrong.

Finally - certainly, everybody can suggest updates of whatever, as long as he and she is not raising the impression, or allows that such an impression emerges, that it would be the original its own update. The CD was a good case of a group of scientists, who engaged itself as a pressure group in a concrete situation - using a certain IPCC-aura as a measure of legitimation.

Marco said...

Reiner, the answer is no, that is not what I am suggesting.

Marco said...

Hans, global emission trading is part of the Kyoto protocol.

Moreover, I don't think it is the only policy option that the IPCC will study and advise on. Do you have information that shows otherwise?

I'll leave it at that, I think the whole CD vs IPCC discussion will be about appearances, with me having another point-of-view than you and Reiner.

ghost said...

I thought the Copenhagen diagnosis was quite nice. I liked the focus on observations, and I must say, the authors are really nice bunch of competent people and some of them are really not known for alarmist tones. For example, I read the publications and opinions of Kaser et al about the Kilimanjaro glacier (e.g., http://www.uibk.ac.at/geographie/forschung/klima-eis/tropic/literatur/moelg_pnas%282010%29.pdf) or the Himalaya affair (e.g., http://www.uibk.ac.at/geographie/forschung/klima-eis/tropic/literatur/cogley_sci%282010%29.pdf).

As such scientists like Prof Kaser are in this group of scientists, I cannot agree with Reiner und Prof von Storch at all. I do think, all others in the group are also very, very good scientists, but some are known for, (hm how to say it nicely), a bit screechy tone, at least in the public opinion. Prof Kaser, for example, is not.

Even I really do not care about the IPCC blah, blah, blah. And I do not think politicians and their advisors are more stupid than I am. Not all.

Hans von Storch said...

Marco,

if some consider the global trading system as "the solution" of the problem, then this position is not something globally agreed upon. First, the US did not ratify the Kyoto protocol - even the signature of the US-president was withdrawn, right? Did the Chinese government agree that it would join the trading system? When? What does the Kyoto protocol stipulate for the time after 2012 in this respect? Somehow I have the impression that this is not "the solution", for which a political global agreement has been reached.

"The only policy option that the IPCC will study and advise on" - I understood the web-page of Otmar Edenhofer as such - for his working group, and his effort. Even if mumbles something on "honest broker" somewhere in the later part of his statement.

Ghost: I consider Georg Kaser definitely to be a fine and respectable scientist.

eduardo said...

Ghost,

of course you are entitle to have your opinion. I have, however, talked to quite a few scientist that disagree with CD in general or on specific issues. Some of them have disagreed publicily. For instance, on the sea-level chapter Peter Lemke and Lennard Bengtsson, also very competent scientist.
You should consider that the authors of the CD had an incentive to publish on its own initiative, unrequested, an 'up-date' of the IPCC report just before the Copenhagen conference. The CD represent a consensus among the 26 author and nothing more. Other scientist that do not necessarily feel that urgency, will wait until the next IPCC report.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco -62, 65

what are you suggesting then?

And, please give us examples of what you found by googling "update".

ghost said...

@Eduardo

okay, I see the problem. It is the opinion of 26 and not an important update of the IPCC report. Reading the press releases and the editorial one can think otherwise very easily. I agree that has to be criticized.

Nevertheless, I do not consider the authors as dishonest in any kind and I do not consider the report as dishonest as Reiner claimed. One simple reason is that many of the authors always make a really good impression to me (as far as i can grasp) and do not make cheap scary statements. Therefore, I think they prepared the report in good faith. Maybe they thought they could help the Copenhagen summit. Maybe that thought was stupid (obviously it failed) but I like it.

Marco said...

Reiner, what I suggest is was I wrote: plenty of organisations have come with updates of prior reports. And those updates are not necessarily reports by those same organisations.

Take this publication, calling itself an update on the IPCC:
http://www.schweizerbart.de/resources/downloads/paper_free/54291.pdf

This paper also suggests to be an update on the IPCC:
http://www.pnas.org/content/106/11/4133.full

This report may be a bit more indirect, but still suggests to be an update to the IPCC.
http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL34266_20071129.pdf

That enough for you?

Marco said...

Hans, I see no evidence that it is considered "the solution". As the PIK IPCC site states:
"In the next seven years the co-chairs will map out strategies for solutions in climate and energy issues and lay out the groundwork for worldwide emissions trading."

Note that the worldwide emissions trading is mentioned separate from strategies from solutions in climate and energy issues.

And regardless of whether all countries have signed, the Kyoto protocol expressly takes emissions trading into account, allowing Annex I countries to deal with others to 'trade' emissions for money. This is, in fact, already being done. China also ratified Kyoto, and thus agrees to emissions trading as a policy tool.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco,
I note a drift of argument from your post 45 where you state
"*I* did not link the report to the IPCC process, nor did several other people I know. It is thus interesting for me to know why *you* did...or rather, why you believe the authors did this on purpose, etc. etc.

Yes, there is a burden-of-proof there."

In more recent posts you accept this link and claim it is normal practice, also elsewhere.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Emissions trading was established under Kyoto Protocol. It reprsents a compromise between the US and the EU. The EU tried to 'sweeten the pill' of CO2 mitigation for the US, after having resisted carbon trading for a long time (remember, it was the US which pressed for a market solution). In this sense the IPCC is not relevant to the emergence of carbon trading as a policy tool. And carbon trading was not adopted as a result of IPCC recommendations.
However, the IPCC TAR (WG3) did discuss the usefulness of the policy (see here) and had something critical to say about "hot air".

If the IPCC stays true to its remit, in AR5 it will have to assess different policy tools critically (including carbon trading), without being prescriptive.

What it cannot do, is to simply ratify existing policies.

Marco said...

Reiner, I do not link these other papers/reports to the IPCC either. They refer to the IPCC reports, even appear to call themselves updates to the IPCC, but apparently unlike you, I do not see them as official IPCC-approved updates and/or appealing to authority by linking to the IPCC.

There is no shift in my position at all.

Pekka Pirilä said...

Reaching the agreement in Kyoto was difficult and everybody knows that creating a different new worldwide solution will be even more difficult. I believe that this is the principal reason for giving too little attention to the alternatives - even being scared of bringing them up to open discussion.

Trying to maintain the Kyoto model and to build the worldwide solution on it may (or is very likely), however, to be futile. Trying to continue on a futile path is counterproductive.

My personal view is that the Kyoto model was bad, when it was invented. It left too large decisions (the national quota) affecting national interest to a rather random process, as no objective process can determine their just sizes even approximately. It left also too much uncertainty in the attainability of the overall goal and through it to the price level of the emission market. The solution is also very badly too complicated and prone to various sorts of cheating and criminal activities.

It is really time to accept that looking for alternative approaches should be brought to the main line research and political discussion.

wflamme said...

Marco,

despite the ongoing discussion about decisions already made you said:

"Regarding your last remark: I think you are not even willing to accept your actions are causing problems elsewhere. Emissions trading would be one way of people paying for the problems CO2 (and other) emissions are causing anywhere. If you do not use many fossil fuels, you're not paying much. If you are, pay. Simple."

There are footprints of many kind I inflict upon others and others inflict upon me ... whether carbon is the most important or problematic one cannot easily or adequately be assessed.

If the principle is about humanity sharing resources and responsibilities I might as well bemoan unsustainable population growth in many poor nations, the humanitarian footprint (refugees, medical care, food aid) they inflicht upon others etc. but I really don't believe in the blame game.

Those nations better acclaim someone took that carbon path at all - they would do much less well without electricity, fertilizers, mobility, antibiotics, irrigation pumps, drought relief, mobile phones, technical/engineering know-how and the like.
As a consequence (besides urgent relief demands) my steady supports ('humanitarian investments' if you will) are about education, not simply paying someone a living because I feel guilty Lord Kelvin wasn't black.

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Hans
Sorry, I got distracted. Better not to start a discussion if there is no time to finish it appropriately.

I do still not understand what exactly you have in mind when describing public statements of IPCC participants as a problem. Just to recall what you said:

"And other, publicly visible scientists, who are often associated as being connected ot the IPCC, make such statements.
That is a problem."

If you drop "such statements" and replace it by "political/moral/ethical statements on the climate issue" (i.e. not strictly scientific statements) that means your sentence concerns nearly everyone participating in the IPCC (and certainly you). "such statements" referred to Reiner's original post and was complaining about the entire Copenhagen consensus report. So my question is could you specify what rules of conduct you have in mind for the IPCC director, for IPCC lead author, for IPCC contributors and for IPCC reviewers?

I have three points with your statement as I understand it until now (but there might be some major misunderstanding)

1) Any statement about consequences/ moral or political implications is equal to me. If you say for example in an interview "Climate change is an important issue, but there are others and I am pretty sure we will find a good solution of this problem for nearly everyone on the planet" then I might agree, but it is for me on exactly the same level as a statement like: "climate change will put into danger human life and societies on this planet". There is no statement of this kind which is a priori unpolitical and allowed and others are political and not allowed. You might just agree with one and disagree with the other. There is no logical distinction which would allow one type of statements to be legitimate for an IPCC contributor/responsible and the others not.

2) If your critique just targets Pachauri, that is no problem for me. However his job is a political job, so his job description might include some demand for sobriety and distance (which Pachaurio might not have) but he also should remain comprehensible for the majority of the habitant of this planet. This is allways some middle ground in it.

3) "Tu quoque". Since I made the point above that there is no political neutral or a priori acceptable position in all this in my point of view you are divulging here also your political views about climate change in the same way as for example Schellnhuber or Rahmstorf divulge their views. One might more or less agree with the different views but that does not make your opinion legitimate and others not. You definetly belong to your target groupe ("publicly visible scientists, who are often associated as being connected ot the IPCC,") and I would not understand how you could logically define a rule of conduct forbitting political public statements of IPCC associates and do what you here do (ie for example running a webside were political views are freely exchanged. As I said for me that is absolutely no problem since I think that it is helpful for the political process that everyone (expert/IPCC contributor or Monsieur lambda) can express their views on climate change politics.

Finally a general remark. I dont think that there is any need of any relevant reform of the IPCC process. Nothing will make the AR5 or ARX more trustworthy or acceptable for the huge majority of people who do not like the IPCC reports until now. Why?
Two systems are interacting with eachother: Science and Politics. So on one side we have Einstein and Max Planck and enthusiastic students and universities and on the other side we have POLITICS. Who had the idea that by reforming Science and making things in Science more accessible and open and whatever the interaction between these two systems will improve? Hardly anything that can be done on the Science side of the interface between Science and Politics will make this interaction between Mann/Hansen/Storch and Bush/Obama/Merkel any better.

Georg Hoffmann said...

Two Part- Meesage: Part I

@Hans
Sorry, I got distracted. Better not to start a discussion if there is no time to finish it appropriately.

I do still not understand what exactly you have in mind when describing public statements of IPCC participants as a problem. Just to recall what you said:

"And other, publicly visible scientists, who are often associated as being connected ot the IPCC, make such statements.
That is a problem."

If you drop "such statements" and replace it by "political/moral/ethical statements on the climate issue" (i.e. not strictly scientific statements) that means your sentence concerns nearly everyone participating in the IPCC (and certainly you). "such statements" referred to Reiner's original post and was complaining about the entire Copenhagen consensus report. So my question is could you specify what rules of conduct you have in mind for the IPCC director, for IPCC lead author, for IPCC contributors and for IPCC reviewers?

I have three arguments with your statement as I understand it until now (but there might be some major misunderstanding)

1) Any statement about consequences/ moral or political implications is equal to me. If you say for example in an interview "Climate change is an important issue, but there are others and I am pretty sure we will find a good solution of this problem for nearly everyone on the planet" then I might agree, but it is for me on exactly the same level as a statement like: "climate change will put into danger human life and societies on this planet". There is no statement of this kind which is a priori unpolitical and allowed and others are political and not allowed. You might just agree with one and disagree with the other. There is no logical distinction which would allow one type of statements to be legitimate for an IPCC contributor/responsible and the others not.

Georg Hoffmann said...

Part II, still @Hans

2) If your critique just targets Pachauri, that is no problem for me. However his job is a political job, so his job description might include some demand for sobriety and distance (which Pachaurio might not have) but he also should remain comprehensible for the majority of the habitants of this planet. There is allways some middle ground in it.

3) "Tu quoque". Since I made the point above that there is no political neutral or a priori acceptable position in all this in my point of view you are divulging here also your political views about climate change in the same way as for example Schellnhuber or Rahmstorf divulge their views. One might more or less agree with the different views but that does not make your opinion legitimate and others not. You definetly belong to your target groupe ("publicly visible scientists, who are often associated as being connected ot the IPCC,") and I would not understand how you could logically define a rule of conduct forbitting political public statements of IPCC associates and do what you here do (ie for example running a webside where political views are freely exchanged. As I said, for me that is absolutely no problem since I think that it is helpful for the political process that everyone (expert/IPCC contributor or Monsieur lambda) can express their views on climate change politics.

Finally a general remark. I dont think that there is any need of any relevant reform of the IPCC process. Nothing will make the AR5 or ARX more trustworthy or acceptable for the huge majority of those who do not like the IPCC reports until now. Why?
Two systems are interacting with eachother: Science and Politics. So on one side we have Einstein and Max Planck and enthusiastic students and universities and on the other side we have POLITICS. Who had the idea for god's sake that by reforming Science and making things in Science more accessible and open and whatever the interaction between these two systems will improve? Hardly anything that can be done on the Science side of the interface between Science and Politics will make this interaction between Mann/Hansen/Storch and Bush/Obama/Merkel any better.

Hans von Storch said...

Georg,
when a thread is older than 2 weeks, all submissions must be accepted for publication. We have set up the system in this way - maybe we should change that. The idea was -I remember- that a thread should not drag out too long. - Hans

Reiner Grundmann said...

Marco,
I am sorry to say that you now start muddying the waters. I did not claim that these reports were approved by the IPCC. In fact, this is the problem with the reports.

Georg,
you miss the point. The Copenhagen Diagnosis, unlike personal statements from individual scientists who speak on their behalf, claims to be an update of IPCC reports, while at the same time making a policy recommendation at a critical juncture (just before the Copenhagen Summit).

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Reiner
"you miss the point"
idem.

Musicians think that singing "ebony and ivory" will break apartheid in South Africa and scientists think that writing an scientific update will lead to reasonable decisions in climate politics. (I doubt both).

You might think they are wrong and disagree on their review on CO2 emission estimates, sea level rise or temperature evolution (actually it seems you are not, since you are not mentioning one single precise point of the Copenhagen paper) but claiming this is illegitimate is for me just absurd.

These scientists made an update of the IPCC report, they are world experts on the respective subjects and they did it to influence politics. So what is the problem? Hans is running a webside and thinks that the Heartwell paper is an important contribution. Where is the difference?

Marco said...

Reiner, it is what you suggested, or at the very least that the authors tried to portray their update as IPCC-approved (you see, I can play the blame-game, too).

Your reply to Georg doesn't make it any better, I already showed that "updates" to the IPCC report are common in the literature.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Georg

"These scientists made an update of the IPCC report, they are world experts on the respective subjects and they did it to influence politics. So what is the problem? Hans is running a webside and thinks that the Heartwell paper is an important contribution. Where is the difference?"

The difference is this: these world experts have chosen to link their update (which contains a policy recommendation) to the IPCC, making it look as if it could have been approved by the IPCC (which was not the case since the IPCC does not have mechanisms to deal with such situations).

Hans von Storch and the Hartwell authors operate as open advocates, without claiming to be linked to the IPCC.

Why do I stress the role of the IPCC so painstakingly? Because the IPCC is not supposed to be policy prescriptive. And invoking the authority of the IPCC for their advocacy by these world leading scientists is a problem.

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Reoiner
It's all really not very convincing to me.
The authors of the Copenhagen consensus were IPCC authors. I have no problem with a curriculum mentioning this simple fact (actually this is a good part of the reason why so many scientist happily participate in the IPCC review, but that's another issue). Your claim the Copenhagen authors wrote the text in a way that it could be mistaken for an official IPCC document goes without any evidence. (again let me mention thay in my opinion I think the entire consensus paper is really dispensable).
I cannot see any relevant difference between the Hartwell group of scientists advocating a certain policy and the Copenhagen group advocating another. You might like one more than the other, but that makes the other not illegitimate, at least in a democracy.

sHx said...

The reason that Reiner's arguments regarding IPCC & CP is not well grasped in this thread is that Reiner has somehow stayed relevant to the topic whereas those who debate him have not.

What was the original post? It was Eduardo's comment that IPCC duty was, to put it crudely, 'all work and no play'. It was meant to show how for scientists the costs of being an IPCC author were greater than the benefits, if there were any benefits at all. It discussed the matter at personal level for the scientists involved.

Many others and I have responded similarly, focusing on the personal motivations for people who take part in such apparently thankless endeavours. Hans even suggested a survey of IPCC authors to find out about their motivations several times, most recently at #49. Such a survey can not remain focused on personal motivations however, and must examine the political along with the personal. Feminists have long argued that "personal is political", and it's been more than 2000 years since Aristotle said, "man is by nature a political animal". It is impossible to separate personal interests of scientists from their political interests especially while discussing their work for an organisation as politically charged as the IPCC.

A case in point is Copenhagen Diagnosis. Whatever their 'personal' motivations may be for their work as IPCC authors, some scientists used their work for the IPCC as a source of credibility for the CD. If we are to believe that scientists who volunteer their time and expertise for the IPCC do so without ulterior motives, personal or political, then 'updates' like CD will prove us wrong.

Scientists aren't always about science. Like every other human beings, they too have interests and motivations over and above their science, regardless of whether this is apparent to them.

Anonymous said...

For further transparency: I see that Steve McIntyre asks also (cf. comment # 51) an interesting question:

      "Has anyone seen a copy of this alleged “guidance”?":

      "[R]ecent guidance given to IPCC lead authors has clearly indicated that communication between lead authors is to remain confidential, and that emails and preliminary versions of work are not made public, cited, quoted nor distributed. We believe that this is persuasive evidence that the IPCC feels that the release of such material would adversely affect their interests." (See Climate Audit (Nov 25, 2010): "UEA: IPCC Requires Secrecy, Not Openness")

To me it seems to be in some way with respect to transparency just the opposite of an alleged "lavishly [..] life" of IPCC's lead authors if it is true what the University of East Anglia apparently replied recently to David Holland’s renewed request for IPCC review comments.

namenlos

eduardo said...

dear namenlos,

I am not aware of any guidelines of this sort, but I am not in the IPCC business, and I can tell you that nobody has hinted at that so far. Quite the contrary, the noises I hear from IPCC WG1 go quite in the opposite direction: to increase transparency.
I would not be happy with everything so far though. For instance, the October meeting would have been a splendid opportunity to replace Pachauri, at least as symbolic move. But IPCC5 hast just started, I think they deserve the benefit of time

Anonymous said...

Eduardo (cf. comment 91/"time"), a saying in countries speaking the German language goes: "Time is relative." Just over a year ago the Teams (of and out(/-side) of UEA) required -- not only to my sense of justice and value -- too much time to react appropriately/within the law (Cf. also climategate especially in context of the Freedom of Information (FOI) act.). But -- sure -- I will/have_to wait some other time and I'll watch out for what will happen next.

With regards to "problems" -- which the debate above features -- and an undefined probability which was provoked by Marco here:

      "[...] Perhaps it is time we pay for the problems we cause elsewhere. [...]"

I take the liberty -- of withholding my prophecy but -- of refering to Camus's essay The Myth of Sisyphus. Following Camus' chapter "Absurd Freedom": I entitle the excerpts: "Absurde Freedom of Information" (italic type by Camus; our brackets and bold charakters):

      "[...] equivalence which springs from anarchy."

      [...]

      "This hell of the present is his Kingdom at last. All problems recover their sharp edge. Abstract evidence retreats before the poetry of forms and colors. Spiritual conflicts become embodied and return to the abject and magnificent shelter of man’s heart. None of them is settled. But all are transfigured. Is one going to die, escape by the leap, rebuild a mansion of ideas and forms to one’s own scale?"

      [...] {The following is also perhaps interesting for UEA, or Marco, or others:}

      "Let us insist again on the method: it is a matter of persisting. At a certain point on his path the absurd man is tempted. History is not lacking in either religions or prophets, even without gods. He is asked to leap. All he can reply is that he doesn’t fully understand, that it is not obvious. Indeed, he does not want to do anything but what he fully understands. He is assured that this is the sin of pride, but he does not understand the notion of sin; that perhaps hell is in store, but he has not enough imagination to visualize that strange future; that he is losing immortal life, but that seems to him an idle consideration. An attempt is made to get him to admit his guilt. He feels innocent. To tell the truth, that is all he feels—his irreparable innocence. This is what allows him everything. Hence, what he demands of himself is to live solely with what he knows, to accommodate himself to what is, and to bring in nothing that is not certain. He is told that nothing is. But this at least is a certainty. And it is with this that he is concerned: he wants to find out if it is possible to live without appeal."

namenlos