I have been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1994, serving in various roles in all three working groups, most recently as a Convening Lead Author in the economics chapter of Working Group II.
Academics who research climate change out of curiosity but find less than alarming things are ignored, unless they rise to prominence in which case they are harassed and smeared. The hounding of Lennart Bengtsson is a recent example. Bengtsson is a gentle 79 year old. He has won many awards in a long and distinguished career in meteorology and climatology. He recently joined the advisory board of an educational charity and felt forced to resign two weeks later. As an advisor, he was never responsible for anything this charity did, let alone for the things it had done before he joined. For this, the was insulted by his peers. A Texas A&M professor even suggested he is senile.4
Strangely, the climate “community” did not speak out when one of its own was elected for the Green Party; nor does it protest against close ties between IPCC authors and the
Environmental Defence Fund, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace or the World Wide Fund for Nature. Other eminent meteorologists have been treated like Bengtsson was – Curry, Lindzen, Pielke Sr. Pielke Jr has been mistreated too, merely for sticking to the academic literature, as reflected by the IPCC, that there is no statistical evidence that the impact of natural disaster has increased because of climate change. I have had my share of abuse too. Staff of the London School of Economics and the Guardian now routinely tell lies about me and my work.
Governments nominate academics to the IPCC – but we should be clear that it is often the environment agencies that do the nominating. Different countries have different arrangements, but it is rare that a government agency with a purely scientific agenda takes the lead on IPCC matters. As a result, certain researchers are promoted at the expense of more qualified colleagues. Other competent people are excluded because their views do not match those of their government. Some authors do not have the right skills or expertise, and are nominated on the strength of their connections only.
Not all IPCC authors are equal. Some hold positions of power in key chapters, others subordinate positions in irrelevant chapters. The IPCC leadership has in the past been very adept at putting troublesome authors in positions where they cannot harm the cause. That practice must end.
A report that is rare should make a big splash – and an ambitious team wants to make a bigger splash than last time. It’s worse than we thought. We’re all gonna die an even more horrible death than we thought six years ago.
Launching a big report in one go also means that IPCC authors will compete with one another on whose chapter foresees the most terrible things.
Scientist Dr. Daniel Botkin Tells Congress why he reversed his belief in global warming to become a skeptic: ‘There are several lines of evidence suggesting that it (AGW) is a weaker case today, not a stronger case’ — Rips Obama climate report as ‘filled with misstatements contradicted by well-established and well-known scientific papers’