John Christy Presentation On The IPCC Assessment Process

The InterAcademy Council (IAC) committee conducted an independent review of the procedures and processes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on June 15 at McGill University in Montreal.

John R. Christy, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Director, Earth System Science Center and Alabama State Climatologist at University of Alabama in Huntsville gave a presentation on his experience with the IPCC process.

His presentation starts with

Mr. Chairman and members of the IAC panel, thank you for inviting me to offer my views on the IPCC process. Five years ago the New York Times quoted me saying that an IPCC-like process, “… is the worst way to generate scientific information, except for all the others.” (23 Aug 2005) I now think I was a bit too generous. A fundamental problem with the entire issue here is that climate science is not a classic, experimental science. As an emerging science of a complex, chaotic climate system, it is plagued by uncertainty and ambiguity in both observations and theory. Lacking classic, laboratory results, it easily becomes hostage to opinion, groupthink, arguments-from-authority,
overstatement of confidence, and even Hollywood movies. When climate scientists are placed in the limelight because this issue can generatecompelling disaster scenarios, we simply don’t want to say, “We just don’t know.”

The entire presentation including John’s appendices can be read here.

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