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Nursery Rimes - Josh 347

On the eve of the opening of the COP 21 in Paris, a new study published Oct. 12 in the journal Nature Climate Change by an international team of researchers based at KEDGE Business School, University of Leeds, University of Bonn and University of Rome demonstrates that Summaries for Policymakers produced since 1990 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are too difficult to read.

Read about it in Nature here.

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (22)

IPCC SPMs clearly stand out in terms of low readability, which has remained relatively constant despite the IPCC’s efforts to consolidate and readjust its communications policy.
If the uncertainties were readable the IPCC reports would be ignored.

The communications policy is working fine.

Oct 12, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M. Courtney pretty much sums up my thoughts: They are not supposed to be readable, understandable, or coherent. Otherwise the authors run the risk of being rumbled.

Oct 12, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"----to explore the extent to which information published by the IPCC differs from the presentation of respective findings in the popular and scientific media between 1990 and 2014. ---"

to explore the extent to which information published by the IPCC differs from the presentation of respective findings in the Body of the reports between 1990 and 2014.

Fixed it--to my satisfaction anyway. That might be a start.

Oct 12, 2015 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt

"too difficult to read"

Only for politicians...

Lovely cartoon, Josh :-)

Oct 12, 2015 at 5:38 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Josh is a wielder of a brush that deserves to be compared with a heat-seeking missile heading unimpeded to targets aglow with self-righteousness or pretension or ignorance or buffoonery or perfidy or plain old silliness in the name of 'the cause'.

Oct 12, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade
Oct 12, 2015 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

If they are too difficult to read, they should be distributed to pensioners with fireplaces, to supplement winter fuel allowances, so that some benefit can be derived from the waste of money that went into their production.

Oct 12, 2015 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It's, ummm, worse than we thought™

Oct 12, 2015 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

IPCC reports should get an entry in the Guinness Book of Records, as the biggest and most expensive works of fiction, that have never been read.

Oct 12, 2015 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It would be interesting for someone to work how many thousands of man hours goes into producing the Summary. My understanding is that there are at least two, maybe three very large get talkfests of the bureaucrats and activist scientists to go over it word by word. Must cost millions to produce the unintelligible wording.

Oct 12, 2015 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

But if it is about Grim Climate Tales, and bearing in mind the pre Christmas Pantomime in Paris, who will be the Fairy Clod Mother?

Oct 12, 2015 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I noticed that an IPCC document referenced in the paper contained this little gem:

People speaking on behalf of the IPCC in an official capacity must focus on communicating a factual, objective presentation of information from the approved IPCC reports and refrain from public statements that could be interpreted as advocacy and compromise the IPCC’s reputation for neutrality.

Apart from completely lacking a reputation for neutrality, sex-pest Pachy has done a superb job of compromising the IPCC's reputation

Oct 12, 2015 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Smith

"In contrast, scientific and quality newspaper coverage has become increasingly readable and emotive"
wonder what "quality newspapers" they are refering to, 1st quess begins with a G ?

Oct 12, 2015 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

David Smith, people misrepresenting themselves as Nobel Prize winners for Mann's Creative Genius, can charge a lot more per hour for their harmful emissions.

Oct 13, 2015 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Brilliant cartoon Josh.

Sums up perfectly the pig-ignorant and childish naivety of the average politician when confronted with "science".

Oct 13, 2015 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

You know, this makes complete sense.

The more impenetrable it is, the more ambiguous it is.

It can mean pretty much whatever you want - which is exactly how it is used.

Oct 13, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I love the way Josh turns grown men into their inner school boy, even while retaining Mann's beard :-)

I'd agree that the IPCC reports are tough to read. Newspaper stories are far easier. The distiction between the two is that the newspapers are too simplified. The first report in particular (and the only one that matters) only hints at the lack of clarity in the science, and it still manages to confuse people. The newspapers give people the impression that the issues are simple and our reactions a foregone conclusion. If politicians are confused by the science, the Summaries for Policymakers has done a good job because they've rightly got the impression that the science isn't clear cut.

As Josh illustrates, the answer is not to dumb down the reports so kids can understand them, but to improve the science and get some more tangible answers.

Oct 13, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I am sorry, can some please explain to this 50 something bod, what an, "established sentiment analysis tool" is, when it's at home, because I haven't a ruddy clue? I am seriously beginning to think I have moved to another planet!

Oct 13, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Alan the Brit, I dunno, but it sounds like a fancy term for an opinion survey.

Oct 13, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Alan the Brit, as another 50 something, I believe in University speak, an "establish sentiment analysis tool" is similar to asking a bunch of students in a bar, if they would like another drink. Any muttering is normally presumed to be affirmative, on the assumption that someone else is paying the bill. A similar random method of sampling is used in graduate and post graduate research all over the world. See 97% consensus for more detail.

Oct 13, 2015 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I thought the most recent SPM was quite good. The pages were soft and surprisingly absorbent.

Oct 14, 2015 at 5:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

"establish sentiment analysis tool"
It's a self replicating tool. In other words a tool made by tools.

Oct 14, 2015 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas

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