The report “Climate Change Assessments, Review of the Processes & Procedures of the IPCC“ has been released today. An initial discussion of the report is posted at
The news media are reporting on this and CNN’s report “U.N. climate body needs ‘fundamental reform’” presents an effective single statement of what is needed for future assessments (i.e. a fundamental reform].
There remain conflicting conclusions in the IAC report, however, such as the finding that
“The Committee concludes that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall and has served society well.”
The IAC report expands on this statement in their following text to the above sentence where they write
“The commitment of many thousands of the world’s leading scientists and other experts to the assessment process and to the communication of the nature of our understanding of the changing climate, its impacts, and possible adaptation and mitigation strategies is a considerable achievement in its own right. Similarly, the sustained commitment of governments to the process and their buy-in to the results is a mark of a successful assessment. Through its unique partnership between scientists and governments, the IPCC has heightened public awareness of climate change, raised the level of scientific debate, and influenced the science agendas of many nations. However, despite these successes, some fundamental changes to the process and the management structure are essential, as discussed in this report and summarized below.”
If their assessment process really “has been successful overall and has served society well”, however, there would be no need for the recommendation that “fundamental changes to the process and the management structure are essential“.
Nonetheless, despite this one inconsistency, the report recommendations are very insightful and valuable.
The deficiencies of past assessment, including that of the 2007 IPCC report, have been documented in depth on my weblog as well as by others (e.g. see , see and see). I have discussed the serious flaws in the IPCC process, for example, in weblog posts, testimony and public statements:
Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices.
Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp.
My concerns were summarized in the submission of comments as part of the IAC review process; see
The recognition of the serious conflict of interest associated with the IPCC process is refreshing, and hopefully, will be built on in order to finally obtain inclusive, balanced climate science assessments.