An Inaccurate Claim By IPCC Co-Chair Christopher Field

In a recent news article by Robert Koenig in the St. Louis Beacon titled

Storm of controversy follows Luetkemeyer’s climate-change measure

there is the following information [highlight added]

Christopher Field, a co-chair of an IPCC working group who is director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, told the Beacon on Monday that the IPCC “is a very good deal for the governments and for the world.” Field, a leading U.S. climate change researcher, is also a professor of biology and environmental earth system science at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

“The IPCC has been able to harness, at a minimal cost, a remarkable pool of scientific knowledge and experience through this approach of engaging volunteers,” said Field, who spoke at Washington University in St. Louis last September. “In their work with the IPCC, hundreds of the world’s leading scientists are donating their nights and weekends to provide the world’s governments with the best available information on climate science.”

First, most (all?) of the climate scientists who are “coordinating lead” and “lead authors” IPPC authors are funded for the science they are reporting on in the IPCC WG1 report, as they are with their peer reviewed papers. It is not accurate to indicate they are donating their time.  Chris Field does not obtain his funding from the IPCC, but, while I have no evidence, it is my personal opinion that much of his research funding is based on perpetuating the IPCC viewpoint.

I respect Chris’s scientific expertise and have had the pleasure to attend meetings with him (including the House Hearing earlier this week).  However,  he is inaccurate with respect to his perspective of the IPCC process.

Of particular importance is the claim that

“the world’s governments [are being provided] with the best available information on climate science.”

The 2007 IPCC WG1 report (and early IPCC assessments) have been selective in what they chose to present.  The WG1 report is actually analogous to a position paper by an advocacy group.

It is straightforward to document this bias as exemplified in the appendix to my Congressional testimony

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.

The need for a broader perspective is supported by other credentialed climate scientists, for example, as reported by Fellows of the American Geophysical Union, in

 Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

Statements in the St. Louis Beacon news article that

Academic researchers outside of the scientific community often make use of IPCC reports. William R. Lowry, a political science professor at Washington University, told the Beacon on Monday that “to me, the IPCC is a pretty reliable source” for climate-change information. “Losing that would be problematic. It’s one place we can get some honest data about climate change.”

are being mislead that the IPCC WG1 report is an inclusive presentation of climate information.

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