It's worse in context
Feb 10, 2010
Bishop Hill in Climate

One of the delights of rising visitor numbers is that you start to get noticed by a whole lot more people who disagree with you and who come over to stick the boot in. The attention is always welcome although I'm sure there will be a certain kudos among those people who stuck the boot in (in the nicest possible way) when nobody had heard of me (hi Frank!).

My Lacis post has got a certain amount of attention around the blogs, with WUWT, Delingpole and DK picking up the story on one side of the debate and Andy Revkin and LibCon on the other. (Revkin has some interesting comments from Chapter 9 coordinating lead author, Gabriele Hegerl, which I may return to another time).

One minor criticism is that can be brushed aside fairly quickly is that Lacis' comments were made about a draft of the report and not the final article. This seems a bit daft to me as it's only the drafts that reviewers get to have their say on. The final report is, well, final. The important facts are the nature of Lacis's criticisms and that they were rejected.

The major criticism though seems to be that I've quote mined; that Lacis' comments were on the executive summary only and were therefore taken out of context.

I think with retrospect my headline could have been better, as it suggested that the Lacis quote I gave was on the whole report and not on the Executive Summary and to this extent I think some of the criticism is warranted. Fortunately though, in another comment on the chapter, Lacis does in fact set out his opinions on the chapter as a whole so we can assess just how badly I've misrepresented him by leaving out the context.

Here's the comment, again in full:

The scientific merit of the IPCC Assessment Report would be substantically improved by simply deleting this chapter. Understanding is a prerequisite before any credible attribution can take place. The chapter starts by putting the cart ahead of the horse - attributions are made left and right without ever laying a foundation to stand on. The objective of the Assessment Report should be to present a clear and convincing documentation of climate change, and avoid becoming a punching bag for climate change critics and skeptics. The place to start is with the observed record of greenhouse gas increases. These GHG increases have physical consequences, i.e., the GHGs produce radiative forcing that is driving the climate system to a new equilibrium. And, there is a global temperature record that verifies that that is indeed what is happening. If, for political reasons, this chapter needs to be retained, it should be rewritten as a synthesis of what has been learnded in the earlier chapters, and moved to the end of the Report. If written well, "attribution" will become a self-evident conclusion that is based on the facts

It's still worse in context.


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