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Advice for the IPCC climate change panel, from a contributor





ocalhoun
Source

From a scientist who contributed to the IPCC's reports, in light of yet more examples of very problematic sources used in official reports (in this case, a magazine article, and a student's research paper):

Quote:

"The IPCC is, unfortunately, a highly political organisation with most of the secretariat bordering on climate advocacy.

"It needs to develop a more balanced and indeed scientifically sceptical behaviour pattern. The organisation tend to select the most negative studies ignoring more positive alternatives."


Accuracy of reports and conclusions aside, I think that criticism is precisely on-target, and I hope it gets listened to.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Source

From a scientist who contributed to the IPCC's reports, in light of yet more examples of very problematic sources used in official reports (in this case, a magazine article, and a student's research paper):

Quote:

"The IPCC is, unfortunately, a highly political organisation with most of the secretariat bordering on climate advocacy.

"It needs to develop a more balanced and indeed scientifically sceptical behaviour pattern. The organisation tend to select the most negative studies ignoring more positive alternatives."


Accuracy of reports and conclusions aside, I think that criticism is precisely on-target, and I hope it gets listened to.
If the views are based on scientific evidence, why are we talking about negative or positive studies? I would have thought if the research had been undertaken by scientists that both negative and positive studies would have been undertaken? Otherwise that would have amounted to the omission of some of the facts? Surely this is a scientific study and as such it would be using scientific methods that would cover the positive as well as the negative?

I also don't understand why there is such a big concern about anecdotal evidence. Not many people make it to the mountain tops and evidence from mountaineers has to be valuable. And why does a dissertation have to be rejected because it was by Masters student? Some of the criticisms of the IPCC scientists are a bit over the top. I agreed that there was justification for criticism for wrong facts, but that has been covered and apologized for. Looks as though there are some people gunning for the organization and that the reasons for these criticisms in the media could be political ones in their own right, i.e. to neutralize the findings of the scientists?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Source

From a scientist who contributed to the IPCC's reports, in light of yet more examples of very problematic sources used in official reports (in this case, a magazine article, and a student's research paper):

Quote:

"The IPCC is, unfortunately, a highly political organisation with most of the secretariat bordering on climate advocacy.

"It needs to develop a more balanced and indeed scientifically sceptical behaviour pattern. The organisation tend to select the most negative studies ignoring more positive alternatives."


Accuracy of reports and conclusions aside, I think that criticism is precisely on-target, and I hope it gets listened to.
If the views are based on scientific evidence, why are we talking about negative or positive studies?

When he mentions negative and positive studies, I'm assuming he means:
Negative: Worst-case-scenario predictions, and examples of negative effects of global warming.
Positive: Not-so-bad predictions, and examples of positive effects of global warming.
Quote:
I would have thought if the research had been undertaken by scientists that both negative and positive studies would have been undertaken?

Surely so, but which ones get selected to be part of the reports put out by the committee?
Quote:
Otherwise that would have amounted to the omission of some of the facts? Surely this is a scientific study and as such it would be using scientific methods that would cover the positive as well as the negative?

It should be a scientific study that examines both positive and negative, but at least according to the man I quoted, it is a political study that tends mainly towards the negative only.
Quote:

I also don't understand why there is such a big concern about anecdotal evidence.

If anecdotal evidence for global warming is acceptable, then anecdotal evidence against it is also acceptable.
Quote:
Not many people make it to the mountain tops and evidence from mountaineers has to be valuable. And why does a dissertation have to be rejected because it was by Masters student? Some of the criticisms of the IPCC scientists are a bit over the top. I agreed that there was justification for criticism for wrong facts, but that has been covered and apologized for.

Well, suppose you're trusting your life to a rope...
You notice one strand of the rope is frayed and broken: "No problem, we'll fix that strand, it's sure to be the only broken one, and it doesn't really hurt the strength of the rope as a whole."
Then you notice another frayed/broken strand... And get the same response.
Personally, I would say that means it's time to do a re-evaluation of the whole rope before I trust it.
Quote:
Looks as though there are some people gunning for the organization and that the reasons for these criticisms in the media could be political ones in their own right, i.e. to neutralize the findings of the scientists?

There are political and special interest backers to both sides, and their influence can be seen all over.
Bikerman
As far as the research goes:
The IPCC invite scientists to work in groups which prepare reports based on 'the literature' (ie existing peer-reviewed science). Deniers and sceptics often claim that only a small number of 'favoured' scientists are chosen. I looked into that and I find the claim to be bogus.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change#Operations

The IPCC certainly has some issues. The recent blunder over the new scientist source for the Himalaya debacle is evidence that someone needs their rear-end kicking.
Doubts over the financial dealings of Pachauri (Chair) also keep surfacing and need to be dealt with publically.
I think the time has come for a change at the top.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
If anecdotal evidence for global warming is acceptable, then anecdotal evidence against it is also acceptable.

I'm not a scientist, but learning from the Science Forum Chris's stickies is that if a scientist studies one point of view, he always looks at the opposite one as well, if the evidence cannot be tested, then a hypothesis cannot be true. I.e.
Quote:
If a hypothesis cannot be tested then scientific method cannot be used and such a hypothesis cannot be said to be a truly scientific one.
So in considering anecdotal evidence I would imagine that both for and against would have been investigated.

I do agree with you however that when it gets to writing the final report that the person who writes the report can colour the conclusion by adding or omitting portions of the research. I recall e-mails between scientists that had been circulated by the press a few months ago where scientists were conniving exactly along the lines you pointed out.

ocalhoun wrote:

Well, suppose you're trusting your life to a rope...
You notice one strand of the rope is frayed and broken: "No problem, we'll fix that strand, it's sure to be the only broken one, and it doesn't really hurt the strength of the rope as a whole."
Then you notice another frayed/broken strand... And get the same response.
Personally, I would say that means it's time to do a re-evaluation of the whole rope before I trust it.
Good point. Apart from the report, there is enough doubt around for all of the findings to be tested from scratch, using Chris's scientific methods.

In the meanwhile however, while everyone is fiddling, Rome is burning. Not all of the findings can be completely wrong. I seem to recall that you once said that instead of worrying about prevention, that people should measure the consequences and plan strategies for coping with those when they happen. I am particularly thinking about the solid evidence that has been put forward for places like the Maldives to completely disappear with rising water levels. Wonder whether they will wait for it to be at a critical stage first?
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
If anecdotal evidence for global warming is acceptable, then anecdotal evidence against it is also acceptable.

I'm not a scientist, but learning from the Science Forum Chris's stickies is that if a scientist studies one point of view, he always looks at the opposite one as well, if the evidence cannot be tested, then a hypothesis cannot be true.
You need to read it again - properly.

"If a hypothesis cannot be tested then scientific method cannot be used and such a hypothesis cannot be said to be a truly scientific one."

Note the lack of an 'e' after 'tru' and the 'a' after the 'be'. Those are REALLY important. No amount of testing can 'prove' an hypothesis to be 'true'.
Quote:
So in considering anecdotal evidence I would imagine that both for and against would have been investigated.
No. Anecdotal evidence would not be considered at all.
Quote:
..using Chris's scientific methods.
Much though I would like to claim it, I cannot do so in all good faith. It has been around a bit longer than me.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Note the lack of an 'e' after 'tru' and the 'a' after the 'be'. Those are REALLY important. No amount of testing can 'prove' an hypothesis to be 'true'.
Quote:
So in considering anecdotal evidence I would imagine that both for and against would have been investigated.
No. Anecdotal evidence would not be considered at all.
Quote:
..using Chris's scientific methods.
Much though I would like to claim it, I cannot do so in all good faith. It has been around a bit longer than me.
Thank you for the corrections.
jmi256
Looks like more bad news for IPCC as an increasing number of inaccuracies in their are coming to light.

Quote:
Netherlands adds to UN climate report controversy
The Netherlands has asked the UN climate change panel to explain an inaccurate claim in a landmark 2007 report that more than half the country was below sea level, the Dutch government said Friday.
According to the Dutch authorities, only 26 percent of the country is below sea level, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be asked to account for its figures, environment ministry spokesman Trimo Vallaart told AFP.

The incident could cause further embarrassment for the IPCC, which recently admitted a claim in the same report that global warming could melt Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was wrong.

IPCC experts calculated that 55 percent of the Netherlands was below sea level by adding the area below sea level -- 26 percent -- to the area threatened by river flooding -- 29 percent -- Vallaart said.

"They should have been clearer," Vallaart said, adding that the Dutch office for environmental planning, an IPCC partner, had exact figures.

Correcting the error had been "on the agenda several times" but had never actually happened, Vallaart said.

The spokesman said he regretted the fact that proper procedure was not followed and said it should not be left to politicians to check the IPCC's numbers.

The Dutch environment ministry will order a review of the report to see if it contains any more errors, Vallaart said.

The IPCC's 938-page Fourth Assessment Report spurred politicians around the world to vow action with its warning that climate change was on the march, but the body has faced fierce criticism over the glacier mistake.

Glaciologists have discredited the Himalaya claim, which is being withdrawn, and the controversy has given fresh ammunition to climate sceptics.

No evidence could be found to show the claim had been published in a peer-reviewed journal and reports in Britain have said the reference came from green group the WWF, who in turn sourced it to the New Scientist magazine.

Source = http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.8d6e5773c60565dfc6e882b0a8dcbf18.4e1&show_article=1
ocalhoun
jmi256 wrote:
Looks like more bad news for IPCC as an increasing number of inaccuracies in their are coming to light.

<.<
Hijack alert.
I really didn't intend this to be yet another place to mention the various examples of shortcomings in the 'proven science' of global warming...
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
<.<
Hijack alert.
I really didn't intend this to be yet another place to mention the various examples of shortcomings in the 'proven science' of global warming...
Nonetheless, I found it quite interesting. To me, jmi presented an "action" example of how the omission of certain data got to happen:
Quote:
Correcting the error had been "on the agenda several times" but had never actually happened, Vallaart said.

I find it very interesting and can't help wondering whether this also happened with other sets of data like the Maldives for example. The report writing had to have been quite chaotic and messy, especially if it had been done by Committee.
jmi256
ocalhoun wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
Looks like more bad news for IPCC as an increasing number of inaccuracies in their are coming to light.

<.<
Hijack alert.
I really didn't intend this to be yet another place to mention the various examples of shortcomings in the 'proven science' of global warming...


I wasn't trying to hijack anything. I think the notion that manmade global warming is "proven science" has been thoroughly discussed. I was just pointing out that politicians are using the IPCC's claims to make policy. I thought that was the point of this thread, but let me know if I'm wrong. As the article I posted says:

Quote:
The spokesman said he regretted the fact that proper procedure was not followed and said it should not be left to politicians to check the IPCC's numbers.


Quote:
The IPCC's 938-page Fourth Assessment Report spurred politicians around the world to vow action with its warning that climate change was on the march, but the body has faced fierce criticism over the glacier mistake.
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