Sep 1, 2013
Bishop Hill in Climate: IPCC, Climate: Surface, Climate: sensitivity

In Bloomberg yesterday, it was announced that governments are asking the IPCC to spend more time on explaining away the pause in the imminent Fifth Assessment Report:

They’re requesting that more details on the so-called “hiatus” be included in a key document set to be debated at a UN conference next month that will summarize the latest scientific conclusions on climate change.

And why do they want this to happen? One suggestion for the reason why comes from Vivian Bob Ward:

Including more information on the hiatus will help officials counter arguments that the slowing pace of global warming in recent years is a sign that the long-term trend may be discounted, according to Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

Which makes it sound as if Ward believes that the IPCC is an overtly political body the objective of which is to win an argument rather than determine the truth. Its always good to find agreement across the lines.

Judith Curry considers this idea in a review of the Bloomberg article, but she doesn't sound entirely convinced by Ward's case:

Some policy makers may want this issue addressed so that they can effectively counter ‘denier’ claims; others may be more suspicious of the IPCC and want to see the IPCC justify its conclusions and confidence levels in view of the pause.

In fact, she reckons that overall policymakers may in fact want, you know, some science:

It looks to me like the national and international policy makers are expecting a serious treatment of the pause issue.

However, in the meantime the Met Office's Vicky Pope has tweeted that the

[d]iscussion about hiatus in warming should be about the new and important science.

Now while you might think this supports the Curry position, she then rather spoils the "honest broker" impression by linking to an article by...Bob Ward that is neither new, important nor science. She also links to the Met Office's recent report on the pause, which was, to say the least rather problematic. So one's suspicion is that the climatological mainstream does indeed see itself as being in the game of providing counter-sceptic talking points. Of course we already knew from the Slingo papers - the briefing put together for central government in the wake of Climategate - that the Met Office is in the counter-sceptic game; the briefing is full of Slingo's thoughts on how to counter Lawson. We should not therefore be surprised if the rest of the passengers on the global warming bandwagon feel the same way.


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