Thursday, March 11, 2010

IPCC first makes claim, then adds reference later


In other posts I have claimed that the IPCC process appears to be along these lines: Make a claim, then find a citation. While it was fairly obvious they did this often, I hadn't found a slam-dunk case I could point at to prove it. I now have that case.
I am participating in the Audit of the IPCC's AR4 conducted over at (I recommend you spare an hour or two to help if you can). I was given Chapter 12 of WG III, which I've completed. Afterwords, I decided to look at the expert reviewers comments for my chapter. I found quite a few biased remarks, which will make another post coming soon. I also found one particular comment interesting. Comment 12-189 (page 78):
"Seems a bold claim - can you substantiate it? ENGOs in most cases are supported through financial contributions from individuals as well as from foundation funding. They are also governed through Boards that in principle represent their consituency. If you leave this, you need to provide a citation." (Jan Corfee-Morlot, University College London (on leave from OECD))
Some background is necessary. In the Second Order Draft, here is the claim he is referring to (page 43, lines 34-36):
      "Relatively few NGOs are directly accountable to members in the same way that governments are to      voters or businesses are to shareholders, raising further questions about the extent to which their claims to the mantle of civil society are justified."
Notice this claim has no reference. So, the reviewer thinks that this claim is bold, and seems to imply it is false. He ends "If you leave this, you need to provide a citation." So what does the reviewer say?
"Noted. Will look for references."
There we go. There is no talk of changing the claim or removing it, he simply says he will look for references. Again, let me clarify what is happening here. The author made a claim, it was challenged, then he says 'alright, now I will go find literature to support what I've already decided.' See the problem here? Read more.

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