Friday, March 19, 2010

IPCC’s Review Panel’s Impartiality Under Fire

Talk about letting the fox into the chicken coop.

After growing concern over the number of errors contained in the IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (FAR) and on the fact that many of its key findings were not peer-reviewed but based on magazine articles and pamphlets from environmental groups, environment ministers from around the world called for the convening of a panel to review the world’s top climate science panel.
The review panel was appointed earlier this month by none other than Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, and Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, not exactly paragons of objectivity.
That is the same Dr. Pachauri who has continued to maintain that the worst examples of errors contained in the report are trivial and the same Ban Ki-moon who declared just before the Copenhagen summit that if Copenhagen failed the world was doomed. Furthermore, Dr. Pachauri’s own credibility is under attack due to a perceived conflict of interest: He is accused of making a fortune from his links with carbon trading companies.
Tainted data
So what exactly is the review panel’s mandate? It has been assigned four key tasks:

  • analyze the IPCC process, including links with other U.N. agencies;
  • review the use of non-peer reviewed sources and data and evaluate its process to ensure quality control;
  • assess how the full range of scientific views are managed in fact and to recommend changes; and
  • review IPCC communications with the public and the media.
Unfortunately, during their announcement of the review panel last week, Ban Ki-moon reiterated his view “that the case for man-made global warming is sound,” and Dr. Pachauri said, “We believe the conclusions of the IPCC report are really beyond any reasonable doubt.”
In other words, the review panel will be hamstrung from the get go because it must take for granted that the substance of the 2007 report is robust—an idea that many scientists are now questioning. Eighteen key areas—which lie at the heart of the “warmist” science—have now been challenged, the latest, the claim that the Amazon rain forest is especially vulnerable to very minor changes in temperatures, having been thoroughly discredited due to contaminated data and poor analysis.
To further undermine the legitimacy of the review panel, the review is being conducted by the Inter-Academy Council—a representative body for a number of national academies of science, almost all of which are committed to the climate change cause. It will also be headed by the Council’s co-chairman, Professor Robbert Dijkgraaf, a professor of mathematical physics at the University of Amsterdam, who recently suggested on Dutch radio that the science around climate change is settled and that there is nothing substantially wrong with the 2007 report. Read more.

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