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Policy questions

Peter Lilley is one of the few MPs who will be able to hold his head up high when the lights go out, having refused to back the absurdities of the Climate Change Act. Here he is in more recent action, asking ministers about the IPCC and the Interacademies Council Report:

House of Commons, 8 March 2012: Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): What assessment he has made of the procedures adopted by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its fifth assessment report.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker): The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently revised its procedures in response to an independent review by the InterAcademy Council. The revisions address the key recommendations of the review and put the IPCC in a stronger position to prepare its fifth assessment report, but there is absolutely no room for complacency.

Mr Lilley: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his answer, which none the less remains complacent. When the InterAcademy Council reported, it proposed radical reforms that would

“fundamentally reform IPCC’s management structure while enhancing its ability to conduct an authoritative assessment”,

and criticised IPCC authors for reporting

“high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence.”

Most of the InterAcademy Council’s recommendations have been rejected, however. Why are the Government not pressing for them to be implemented?

Gregory Barker: My right hon. Friend will know that, as a result of the reform procedures, an executive committee has been formed and a new conflict of interest policy has been created. The communications strategy has also been elaborated on much more strongly. I accept that this is by no means perfect, but we now have much greater faith in the IPCC and we look forward to seeing its fifth report.

What a comfort Mr Barker must get from the creation of a new conflict of interest policy. I wonder if he knows that it hasn't been implemented?


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Reader Comments (46)

I accept that this is by no means perfect, but we now have much greater faith in the IPCC and we look forward to seeing its fifth report.

Can Greg Barker show how he indicated publicly that he had much less faith in the IPCC than he does now? Which part did he doubt and when?

Mar 9, 2012 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"... we now have much greater faith in the IPCC..."

There was a problem with "faith in the IPCC"? I must have missed the government commenting on that. Or have they just gone from having massive faith to having really massive faith?

Mar 9, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

faith in the IPCC

Faith goes with hope and charity.
When their faith is shown to be ill-founded, they can but hope that the electorate shows them a modicum of charity.

Mar 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Is there supposed to be a final quote after the words, "Via GWPF." ?

I get the usual bluish/greyish box but no text (Firefox).


Mar 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Barker is my MP. As you can probably imagine, attempting to broach the subject of CAGW falls entirely on deaf ears.

Mar 9, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

The communications strategy has also been elaborated on much more strongly

Excellent. That is sure to make the difference.

Echos of "we only need to improve the way we tell people the world is going to fry".

Mar 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Robin Guenier, on the 2nd page of comments on the Delingpole post, notes how he’s contacted Peter Lilley (his MP) about a very interesting get-out clause in the Climate Change Act. It seems that the Secretary of State may make changes in the 2050 carbon account (the obligation to cut emissions by 80%) if it appears to him/her that there have been “significant developments in … scientific knowledge about climate change ... that make it appropriate to do so …”.
So if by some miracle it came to the Secretary of State’s notice that temperatures are not going up, he might decide to change an 80% reduction into a 50% increase, for example, while keeping the Climate Change Act intact.
Anyone with a sympathetic MP might like to suggest this way out to a government embarrassed by fuel price rises, windfarm protests, and job losses.

Mar 9, 2012 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

I think you'll find, Bishop, that 'conflct of interest' policies aren't for implementing; they're for having.
Sir Humphrey will confirm that, I'm sure.

Mar 9, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I've said this before and will continue to repeat it:

Greg Barker left his wife for another man.
OK that's not actually the problem. What was unforgiveable is that his wife's Daddy owns Charles Wells Brewery.

How can you trust a man like that ?

Mar 9, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

My faith in Mr Barker is inversely proportional to his faith in the IPCC.

Mar 9, 2012 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I'd say that as far as governments are concerned, the IPCC has been doing what they wanted it to. Shame it got carried away and created some embarrassment. However, that's in the past, lessons have been learned, a line has been drawn under the affair and we have moved on. Why people like Peter Lilley want to make themselves a nuisance is a complete mystery.

Mar 9, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

AR5 will be delivered with all the claims of the previous reports. Large sections are just cut and pasted from earlier reports and form the basis for the next one, with all assumptions, expert judgements and the like, carried forward as sound science.

It seems that Pachauri has known for some time what AR5 will contain, as he revealed in this talk to a Bahai meeting in New York in September 2009.

“When the IPCC’s fifth assessment comes out in 2013 or 2014, there will be a major revival of interest in action that has to be taken,” said Dr. Pachauri, speaking of the periodic assessments rendered by the group of more than 400 scientists around the world that he leads. “People are going to say, ‘My God, we are going to have to take action much faster than we had planned. ’”

I assume the number 400, rather than his oft-quoted 4000, is just another typo, otherwise those scientists have disappeared faster than a Himalayan glacier.

The IAC panel did what it was set up to achieve:

1. Assuage the anger felt by sceptics and even some environmentalists, at the obvious mistakes, (in the plural, in spite of Dr Pachauri agreeing to only one), that were revealed in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.

2. Give the IPCC process a clean bill of health and a licence to carry on, albeit with some management recommendations that will require more funding for the IPCC, effectively as requested by Dr Pachauri the year before:

In a speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 30th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Antalya, Turkey, 21st April 2009, Pachauri sought more funding and a stronger Secretariat for the IPCC:

“We now have a new Bureau of the IPCC and a new team of office-bearers. We also have new challenges, which we must have the ability and wisdom to decipher. Our work emphasizes the policy relevance of the assessments we produce, and if this is going to remain the hallmark of our work we must understand the shifting landscape on which our work must be based.”

“To a large extent, we are now facing the consequences of the success achieved by the Panel, credit for which must go collectively to all the distinguished delegates present in this room and the thousands of scientists who have toiled hard over the years. The members of the Panel deserve great credit for the foresight they have displayed in establishing the procedures and practices of the IPCC.”

“While we plan our efforts at this stage, we also need to get into some organizational issues.

Given the growing demands on the IPCC for a range of outreach activities and the emphasis expressed repeatedly for greater coordination and information sharing across working groups, we would need to strengthen the core structure of the IPCC.”

“A task group to deal with strengthening of the Secretariat will be reporting to the Panel in this session, and I would suggest that we would be well served by early decisions on this subject, so that we can equip ourselves better for the challenges ahead.

The WMO and UNEP had advisedly provided the Secretariat two senior scientific positions two decades ago, but given the challenges ahead, we need to create some depth in that structure with a sense of urgency now.”

"In this context, let me also highlight the growing demand for outreach activities by the IPCC. These have no doubt had an important effect in the past two years, because awareness on the scientific facts related to climate change have reached a level which could not have been anticipated even at the beginning of 2007.

But, all this has only added to the demand for more information, which the IPCC will have to provide and disseminate on a much larger scale in the future. Indeed, this demand will not end whatever the outcome in Copenhagen, but is likely to escalate.

All the office-bearers and authors involved in the work of the IPCC will have to play an important role in outreach activities." (For outreach read "promotion")

Many thought it was the death knell for either Pachauri and/or the IPCC, but Chairman Harold Shapiro stated clearly that:

“It was beyond our charter to even look at whether the current leadership was adequate or inadequate or super-terrific, and so we did not look. This suggestion [of term limits], from our point of view, does not come from any lack of confidence in the current director. It’s something we simply did not address.

We don’t recommend any change in the director’s position. We do propose a new position called executive director, who would head the secretariat in Geneva. We believe that should be a senior scientist, responsible for day-to-day operations of the secretariat and of the overall assessment. “

Effectively, Pachauri got what he had asked for, confirmed by him, in his comments on the report

“There are two sets of recommendations. One, I would call fairly significant, like they have suggested that we have an executive committee which is empowered to take decisions between the sessions of the panel.

In 2006, I had established something called the E-Team or the executive team of the panel comprising the chairs and the co-chairs and so on. So, essentially, they have formalized what I had done and I am very happy about that.”

Shapiro said in an interview:
“Our charge here was not to review the science, but simply to ask, “are their policies and practices set up in such a way as to minimize errors and generally achieve the authoritative nature they seek in the report?”

And so once you ask the question that way, it’s not a unique organization; it’s just a quality control problem. “ “Now, in a report that’s a couple of thousand pages, you’ll always have some errors -- hopefully minor ones -- so we made a number of recommendations, just to improve things in this area.”

“Is it time to buy insurance? And if so, how much insurance do you want to buy? That’s really the question, and the more we know, the more certain we will be. Given the fact that we have all these enormous climate models with all the uncertainties built into them, these things happen on such extraordinary timescales, you don’t have that much past data -- there’s all sorts of ways to be uncertain."

We talked a lot about communications. Since this is a matter of great public interest and public concern, you’ve got to find some way -- it’s not just scientists talking to themselves -- this is something you’ve got to be able to communicate to policy makers and the public at large.

Everyone believes that the IPCC’s communications capacity is awful. So we have in the report…a set of recommendations. But it’s not an easy problem.

I don’t know what they’re going to do about this in the end, but my sense is that they’re going to have to rely, if they want to take this on, they’ll have to rely on some external people."

Bob Ward maybe?

The report belongs to the IPCC – “Who decides whether to accept the report?”
Dr Shapiro: “Well that’s up to the panel [the IPCC]. The panel, of course, are the governments that established IPCC in the first place, of course under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization and U.N. Environment Program, and they meet in plenary session in Korea, in the middle of October, which is why they wanted our report by August 30th. They’re the ones that decide.”

Which of course is perfectly fair, as they were the client.

The Inter-Academy Council - “In May 2000 all of the world's science academies created the IAC to mobilize the best scientists and engineers worldwide to provide high quality advice to international bodies - such as the United Nations and the World Bank - as well as to other institutions.”

“In a world where science and technology are fundamental to many critical issues - ranging from climate change and genetically modified organisms to the crucial challenge of achieving sustainability - making wise policy decisions has become increasingly dependent on good scientific advice. The IAC is client-driven and works on a project-by-project basis.”

As with all reports produced for clients, where the client is the subject of the report, the long-term survival of the client has to be a major consideration of the review process.

Much was made of its "independence" from the UN and the IPCC, yet it included people with strong allegiance to the IPCC process, including strong NGO links, some having been involved with it for many years. Dr Shapiro was Chairman of the of the Board of Trustees of the Alfred Sloan Foundation in 2001 when Pachauri received $45,000 dollars for Teri-NA, which to this day still shows the Foundation as a current sponsor.

As Christopher Booker said at the time: “Through all this the IPCC has been exposed for what it truly is: not a proper scientific body but an advocacy group, ready to stop at nothing in hijacking the prestige of science for its cause. But little of this might be guessed from the Inter-Academy report (jointly commissioned by Dr Pachauri himself and Ban Ki-Moon, the UN's Secretary General).

Yet the IPCC is the body on whose authority our Parliament voted for the Climate Change Act, passed all but unanimously two years ago. This will land us, on the Government's own figures, with by far the biggest bill we have ever faced: up to £18 billion every year for the next 40 years – £734 billion in all – in order to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent, something impossible to achieve except by closing down virtually all our industrial economy."

Mar 9, 2012 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

I'd say that as far as governments are concerned, the IPCC has been doing what they wanted it to.

All the member governments of the United Nations or just those that have signed the relevant treaties within UNFCCC? In other words, pull the other one. There's been deception involved but the number of very deliberate actors at the centre is relatively small. Most politicians just go with the flow. And the flow is genuinely changing. What the 'all governments are in on it' meme does is make us dumb and defeatist at the same time. Not what's needed.

Mar 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Peter Lilly. An enemy of the Green Treens, who still seek to control us.....

Mar 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Let's face it...the only reason ar5 is still of interest is that Richard Betts is.writing something in it. Everything else is expected to be the usual rubbish.

Mar 9, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Didn't Patchy say the conflict of interest policy was too late for AR5 and wouldn't be implimented until AR6?

Mar 9, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Dunford

All the member governments of the United Nations or just those that have signed the relevant treaties within UNFCCC? In other words, pull the other one.

You're right, it's not as crude or as conscious as that. I'd say most politicians and the machinery of government are inclined to maintain the status quo and the status quo shifted some years back to things green with public approval and when paying for it was a distant prospect. Government realised it wasn't a bad thing for it, again maybe not consciously. All three major political parties in the UK were trying to be greener than thou, no doubt inspired by opinion polls and focus groups. The CCA might be seen as an implementation of Agenda 21, but the idea that all, or even more than a handful, of those MPs in favour were signed up to Agenda 21 is ridiculous. I doubt more than a handful have heard of it. Going Green was all the rage and there was about as much point in questioning it as asking why kipper ties were in fashion in the 70s.

Now they've collectively moved off in a direction and invested an awful lot in it, and there are signs that it was a huge mistake, but it's like a changing direction with an oil tanker; it isn't like a small motor boat.

I'd say Barker sees no reason why he should put his head over the parapet in any way while the problem (should there be one) will be taken care of by other forces and he can fit in with them, when and if the time comes. That's why Lilley's question was deflected with waffle.

Mar 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Like the Greek bond swap there is never any doubt in the outcome it is already ordained. The same with politicians and global warming it will follow just like the lies about the constitution of the EU and the Lisbon treaty.Everything is a done deal with politicians we know best (for us) you the people just get out of the way and pay. The only way is to vote for anyone who will get us out of the EU there is no other way. Politicians have obligations to themselves only. Just keep reminding scientists of their obligation to science it will make it harder for the politicians lies to be perpetuated.

Mar 9, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

@Mike Jackson Mar 9, 2012 at 4:01 PM

I think you'll find, Bishop, that 'conflct of interest' policies aren't for implementing; they're for having.
Sir Humphrey will confirm that, I'm sure.

And as we have seen repeatedly, the same "principle" has frequently been applied to far too many of their policies and practices!

As for "implementation" of their COI "policy", I seem to recall that Richard Betts believes it has been implemented because those on his team were required to "fill out the form" - the contents of which are deemed to be of no public interest, in keeping with the IPCC's longstanding commitment to "transparency", of course.

Mar 9, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Try not to go to the GWPF link and on to the Hansard link. Or if you do, refrain from reading on from the Lilley question and on in to the forward energy policy. Utter boneheads, the lot of them.

Mar 9, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Speaking of absurdities I have to share this example of the body of knowledge residing at the Hot Topic blog in NZ (the "idiot" is me):-

Ian Forrester March 10, 2012 at 4:37 am

I’m going to respond once more and only once more to this idiot. Temperature in lakes and oceans lag solar by about 60 days. How can solar be responsible for heating? Of course it is the thermal energy in the air which causes the water temperature to rise. Where does that thermal energy come form? It comes from IR radiation which is being prevented from leaving the atmosphere by the green house gases, levels of which are increasing due to burning of fossil fuels.

As for your comments on “thermal diffusivity of water” Have you never read in the papers discussing water temperature that the main cause for heat to get into the water column is not by diffusion but by mixing caused by surface winds?

Why are such idiots allowed to waste peoples’ time with their lies and misrepresentations?

Note that my previous comment was:-

Richard C2 March 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Ian Forrester March 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Ques: What exactly was your “earlier prognosis”?

Ans:”The lake lagging air in the Great Lakes plot is explained by thermal lag of water wrt air after solar input”

Think thermal inertia of water (slow) vs air (fast)

Clue here Ian: Thermal diffusivity mm²/s

Air 19
Water at 25°C 0.143

Out of curiosity, I have asked Ian what he thinks the speed of light is

Mar 9, 2012 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard C (NZ)

There is a worrying report about the implications of EU climate change policy in the Daily Telegraph today. For some reason it does not seem to have been picked up by the main climate blogs yet.

Kingsnorth power plant to close in a year as EU rules hit

"Kingsnorth power station in Kent is to be shut in March 2013 with the loss of 123 jobs, energy giant E.ON announced. The coal-fired plant, which generates enough power for nearly 2m homes, will be forced to close because it will run out of its allocated operating hours under EU environmental legislation, the power company said. Under the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), polluting power stations that were not adapted to meet emissions-reduction targets will have to close by the end of 2015, or when they use up an allowance of 20,000 generating hours from January 2008 – whichever comes first."

How long will it be before the lights start to go out and which politicians will get the blame then?

Mar 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Richard C
That has got to be a classic!
Where does he think the thermal energy comes from in the first place that provides the IR radiation?
His own hot air, perhaps?

Mar 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Hi Bish

The Conflict of Interest Policy has been implemented for AR5. All authors are required to declare potential interests.

Why do you think it has not been implemented?



Mar 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts


Yes. But Richard Tol has misgivings -

'First, a conflict of interest is now in place. Essentially, we all signed a form declaring that we have no conflicts of interest. This is defined narrowly: pecuniary, personal, direct benefit from deliberate bias. There is no audit of these declarations, and they will not be made public. The IPCC pretends that its authors operate in their personal capacity, even if people work on their chapters in their bosses' time. Conflicts of interest that arise because IPCC authors are also journal editors, PhD advisors, researchers, fund raisers, referees, and what nots are deemed irrelevant.'

Mar 9, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Pachuari to Oliver Morton and reported by him, June 17th 2011;

"Of course if you look at conflict of interest with respect to authors who are there in the 5th Assessment Report we’ve already selected them and therefore it wouldn’t be fair to impose anything that sort of applies retrospectively."

Mar 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

More or less O/T but the GWPF is headlining a must read piece in the Energy Tribune today on the Bishop's recent Royal Society expose. Many have come to the conclusion that the Royal Society have played a central role in the development of the government's climate change policy through a number of influential RS Fellows in the policy and research funding administrative bureaucracy.

Mar 9, 2012 at 11:42 PM | Registered CommenterPharos


Thanks for explaining where this misunderstanding may have come from.

However, I can assure you that the COI policy has been implemented and all existing authors are definitely being asked to declare interests!

Mar 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

9 March: Reuters: Barbara Lewis: Poland blocks EU efforts on carbon limits
(Additional reporting by Charlie Dunmore and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels and Gabriela Baczynska in Warsaw; Editing by David Gregorio)
Coal-reliant Poland on Friday vetoed European Union efforts to move further towards a low carbon economy, pitting itself against the rest of the 27-member bloc...
But Poland, which relies on carbon-intensive coal for more than 90 percent of its electricity, said it could not agree to any inclusion of milestones for future carbon reductions in an EU text debated at a meeting of environment ministers.
"Unfortunately, one delegation has blocked," Denmark's Climate and Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard told reporters. "It has been a tough day. It would have been better if 27 countries would have been on board, but 26 is very encouraging."
The text of an environmental council meeting does not have firm policy status within the EU's complex decision-making process, but it is a signal, which is weakened if consensus cannot be achieved.
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the backing of almost the entire bloc was enough to allow the Commission, the EU's executive arm, to keep working on further progress.
"Twenty-six member states want us to move ahead with the low carbon road-map," she told Reuters.
To help fill the policy vacuum after a firm goal of a 20 percent carbon cut by 2020 expires, the roadmap lays out a route towards a long-term aim to reduce the bloc's carbon emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century...
Whereas Poland opposed increased ambition, other EU nations have objected to what they see as a step in the wrong direction, with the dropping of the 25 percent marker for 2020.
Britain is among those wanting an early increase in ambition.
"The outcome shows how we must redouble our efforts in explaining to Poland that shifting to a low-carbon economy is part of long term growth in Europe," Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said in a statement.
"There'll be no pause in the UK's efforts to push for a 30 percent emissions target for 2020, providing the much needed certainty that business needs to invest in the green technologies of the future."...
Even at the international climate talks in Durban, Poland was isolated from other EU nations in its refusal to agree a plan to reduce a surplus of Kyoto carbon permits, known as Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), which it wants to hold on to because it can sell them on international markets...
Environmental groups and the European Parliament, which has been pushing for environmental ambition, said Poland was missing a huge opportunity in its resistance to a low carbon future.
"Poland is not only slowing down their own country, but also the aspirations and opportunities for sustainable growth in the other 26 Member States," Jo Leinen, a German Social Democrat said in a statement.
"Poland is adding to its image of an outdated economy and is holding back progress for the entire continent," Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said in a statement.

Mar 10, 2012 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

8 March: Seattle Times: Angela Charlton: Airbus says China blocking orders over EU scheme
China is blocking orders for at least $12 billion worth of Airbus jets to protest the European Union’s emissions trading fees, in a new challenge to the program aimed at fighting global warming, the planemaker said Thursday…
With some analysts warning of a brewing trade war, Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said his company is seeing “retaliation threats” from 26 countries, “in particular from China.”…
EU officials defended the emissions system. Asked about the Airbus complaint at the daily midday briefing, EU spokesman Isaac Valero Ladron said, “I’m not in a position to make any comments about possible trade decisions. I think it’s in everybody’s interest to reduce greenhouse gases, which affects climate change, and airplanes affect that, as well.”…
The United States, China, Russia, India and many other countries are opposed and say the bloc cannot impose taxes on flights outside its own airspace…

Mar 10, 2012 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

"What a comfort Mr Barker must get from the creation of a new conflict of interest policy. I wonder if he knows that it hasn't been implemented?"

I'm afraid Greg Barker MP has nailed his colours so firmly to the mast that he has to go down with his sinking ship. I don't think we shall ever hear an admission from him that he has been in the wrong about "man-made global warming".

My respect for Peter Lilley MP rocketed when he opposed the Climate Change Bill. I just hope enough of the 2010 intake can be brave enough to follow his example, rather than allowing this parody of science to continue.

Mar 10, 2012 at 5:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan


Last time I heard it hadn't!

Mar 10, 2012 at 7:46 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

What I find truly amazing is the media and political denial of the other adverse findings of the IAC viz.
political interference, bias, vague statements not supported by evidence, poor handling of uncertainty, and use of reference material which had not been critically evaluated.

For the warmists who are so fond of quoting the platitudinal, laudatory passages on the first page of the executive summary of the IAC report (" assessment process successful overall,,,,,Nobel Prize......informing climate policy and raising public awareness ..."etc. the following quote should also be noted and acknowledged viz. on page 2 of the body of the report we find the following viz.

" This report examines the processes and procedures used to carry out IPCC assessments: it does not examine climate science or the validity of its representation in the assessment reports."

I wonder why the IAC declined to comment on IPCC's version of climate science?
Settled science? Flawed processes, flawed product!

Mar 10, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterPatrick


Mar 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Indeed, Bishop, as I said on a previous thread I watch BBC Parliament somewhat obsessively (my two telly addictions - BBC Parliament and Coronation Street - the omnibus edition - equally superficial, equally comedic!) and, amongst the usual ad nausea 'green' verbiage, up popped Peter Lilley, someone who, being an 'old lefty', I object to on principal, speaking actual sense. Stone the crows. I saw, metaphorically, a shaft of sunlight stab through the old (new and parvenu) gloom and heard the grinding and gnashing of teeth! But the pall quickly came back and the default sleep resumed it's snore! (Yeh, over the top but never mind!)
And it's great that Richard Betts can assure us that the COI policy has been taken on board but may I gently suggest we wait till the next report is published before we are totally convinced? We've been here before, Richard!

Mar 10, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

All politicians use Climate Change scare stories to control us

But we still cant respect them

Mar 10, 2012 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJAMSPID

Mar 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM fenbeagle

Peter Lilly. An enemy of the Green Treens, who still seek to control us.....

Lilley is a bit of a nuisance but he won't prevent us from controlling you.

Mar 10, 2012 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Mekon

The Mekon

Boom boom!

Mar 10, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

I had thought that some recent interventions here from the Met Office and associates, such as Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards, showed that they were in fact ordinary reasonable people with whom a serious discussion was possible.

Then I read on Tamsin's blog that she is involved in spreading what I consider blatant propaganda to small children, including this rubbish:

Ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is not only causing climate change but also making the oceans more acidic.

Race against your friends to make your water more acidic by blowing through a straw!

Try making sea shells bend and fizz with vinegar.

See how burning candles makes the surface of our “ocean” more acidic.

How many of the under-10's will see this as evidence that we evil humans are killing seashells with our nasty CO2?

And how many under-10's will think that this is nonsense, that the sea can never be acidic, and that the use of the term acidification when you actually mean neutralisation is scientifically illiterate?

Shame on you, Tamsin.

Mar 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta

I tried to comment on this but got caught in a captcha which wasn't even visible on-screen.
I had thought better of Tamsin. This is shameful especially since she immediately started to wriggle by trying to imply that this was teaching children about acidity and alkalinity.
It's patently the next stage of the scare as several of us said it would be.

Her supporters appear to be either "research says ..." fanatics or Wikipedia devotees!

Mar 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

The Tamsin stopped me from correcting on her blog the astounding scientific error that leads to the claim that 'back radiation' can do thermodynamic work, in turn the cause of the imaginary 'positive feedback'.

If anyone is interested, I have developed the argument on Tallbloke. I hope there will be a significant reaction to what I suspect is a radically different way of thinking about the problem!

Mar 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

@Richard Betts Mar 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM

However, I can assure you that the COI policy has been implemented and all existing authors are definitely being asked to declare interests!

Yes, but according to, this declaration/disclosure depends on the:

professionalism, common sense, and honesty

of those who have been "invited to serve".

While it is worth noting that the IPCC have acknowledged that "significant and relevant professional activities ... might include ... membership on the boards of advocacy groups", it should also be noted that some board members are often less active and involved than many non "board members". But it would appear that this is not a consideration in the eyes of the powers that be at the IPCC.

And I see that this whole COI implementation is wrapped in the IPCC's favourite shroud of "transparency":

Subject to requirement to notify the existence of a conflict of interest to others under paragraph 6 of the Implementation Procedures, I understand that these forms will be considered confidential and will be reviewed in accordance with the COI Implementation Procedures.

And Paragraph 6 reads:

6. In exceptional circumstances, a conflict of interest on the part of an IPCC author which cannot be resolved may be tolerated where the individual is deemed to provide a unique contribution to an IPCC product and where it is determined that the conflict can be managed such that it will not have an adverse impact on the relevant IPCC report. The relevant Working Group Bureau or Task Force Bureau should refer such cases to the COI Committee for it to determine. In such cases, the COI Committee will publicly disclose the conflict and the reasons for determining that the individual may continue to contribute to the IPCC’s work in spite of the conflict. [emphasis added -hro

This could be construed as dancing around the IAC's noting of the specific concern regarding authors who review their own work. But ...

In short ... while there is the "appearance" of accountability, the public - as usual - will be the last to know (if at all).

Sorry, Richard ... no reflection on your "professionalism, common sense and honesty", but consider me somewhat, well, skeptical :-)

Mar 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

It's the Conflict of Interest Policy you have when you're not having a Conflict of Interest Policy.

There are holes you could back a 787 through. It relies entirely on self-reporting (no doubt Peter Gleick would give himself a 100% pure rating), excludes several important areas, is secret, and there are no sanctions for breaches.

Here we go again. Nothing to see here, just move on folks.

Mar 11, 2012 at 3:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Richard Betts: Techically correct. Technically, its been impleneted.

According to Pachauri, the COI has been implemented, but is not being applied to AR5, because that would be "unfair".

RP: It’s applicable right away. Of course if you look at conflict of interest with respect to authors who are there in the 5th Assessment Report we’ve already selected them and therefore it wouldn’t be fair to impose anything that sort of applies retrospectively.

Mar 11, 2012 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Like St Augustine, the IPCC is all in favour of purity - but not yet.

It's like the government announcing that a certain type of tax evasion has been made illegal, to come into effect in 2016.

Mar 12, 2012 at 5:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna


Sorry to hear I've lost your trust. I've tried to defend the exhibit in the comments. I'm not an expert in this area (the exhibit was designed by others, though I'm not shifting responsibility) and am learning a lot about the 'dissenting views' in the threads. (I'd only read bits of one webpage on these views before - comes highly in Google searches on ocean pH observations I think, but I'm on my phone so not easy to find). I did stress to the exhibit designers and volunteers how important it was to not imply an acid ocean or scare the kids. Our first FAQ was "No we can't make the oceans acidic". Part of the "spiel" was to point out average ocean pH on the scale.

Similarly, our climate quiz used to be more about action (eg saving energy) and is now more about science (eg palaeoclimate), and our glaciological exhibits are not about doom and gloom but about the joy of being a scientist and discovering.

Also sorry if people's comments don't show for 2-3 days. Once they've been approved, future comments are automatically accepted (if same email). I am very overcommitted at the moment and not keeping up with work emails and requests, let alone blog stuff.

The only comment I've ever modded was MDGNN on back radiation but it did break the policy (repetition, off topic) - and I left the beginning, end and link so people had the gist and could follow it up.


Mar 12, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

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