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Media touts UN IPCC as World’s Top Scientists — But who are they? Answer: Activists

By Dennis Ambler

The BBC is referring to the authors of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of 1.5 deg C of warming over pre-industrial, as the World’s Top Scientists. There are very few of what could be described as “climate scientists, but lots of geographers, energy analysts, economists, sociologists, engineers, sustainability experts and the odd Eco-Psychologist thrown in for good measure, together with considerable UN and World Bank affiliations.

Co-ordinating Lead Author of Chapter 1 is physicist Professor Myles Allen of the Oxford Environmental Change Institute –

Professor of Geosystem Science, Leader, Climate Research Programme, ECI

His list of authored and co-authored publications demonstrates his ardent political campaigning perspective and the names of several others of the “1.5 degree team” are also present.

He is a proponent of the Carbon Budget theory, and there is a website with a dramatic countdown clock heading towards  “The Trillionth Tonne”,

He is effectively saying that all anthropogenic CO2 ever emitted is still in the atmosphere and causing warming and catastrophe occurs when the cumulative figure, [from his perspective] hits a trillion tonnes.

He has been pushing “climate litigation” for some time. In 2003 he told the BBC that:

“The vast numbers affected by the effects of climate change, such as flooding, drought and forest fires, mean that potentially people, organisations and even countries could be seeking compensation for the damage caused. “It’s not a question we could stand up and survive in a court of law at the moment, but it’s the sort of question we should be working towards scientifically,”  

He was present at the 2012 meeting at La Jolla, when the Union of Concerned Scientists, led by Peter Frumhoff, constructed a strategy to bring prosecutions against fossil fuel companies in the manner of the tobacco class action. A co-strategist was Naomi Oreskes, who has repeatedly attacked non-conforming scientists as “Merchants of Doubt”. Blogger, Shub Niggarath, revealed the story a couple of years ago, complete with photo of the group:

They produced a Climate Accountability Report from that 2012 meeting:

“Myles Allen, a climate scientist at Oxford University, suggested that while it is laudable to single out the 400 Kivalina villagers, all 7 billion inhabitants of the planet are victims of climate change. “Why should taxpayers pay for adaptation to climate change? That is a sound bite that I don’t hear used. Why should taxpay­ers bear the risk? Perhaps that question alone can help shift public perception.”

In 2017, Allen was proclaiming in the Guardian:

Big Oil must pay for climate change. Now we can calculate how much

He was a witness in the abortive case against Exxon-Mobil in March 2018;

There is more background on Professor Allen here, especially his Climate Prediction Distributed Computing Group:

One of his co-CLA’s is Opha Pauline Dube of the University of Botswana

She says:

Climate change is an effect of unsustainable development pathways practised since the industrial revolution. Impacts of climate change permeate all geographical and socioeconomic scales affecting most developing countries.

[but not developed countries?]

PhD in Geographical Science at The University of Queensland. Co-Editor-in-Chief of environmental science journal “Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability”, has a focus on global environmental change in the context of the Anthropocene[an unofficial epoch. Is she really a top scientist?]

The other Co-CLA is William Solecki

Professor; and Founder Director, Emeritus, CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities 
Professor within the Department of Geography at Hunter College-City University of New York.

Co-editor of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, (with Dube) and founding editor of the Journal of Extreme Events. He holds degrees in Geography from Columbia University (BA) and Rutgers University (MA, PhD). [Is he a top scientist?]

Interesting Lead Authors include Stephen Humphreys

Lecturer in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He has edited a book on climate change and human rights. He previously acted as Publications Director for the Open Society Justice Initiative (Soros) in New York, and before that oversaw a project monitoring minority rights and discrimination in ten EU accession countries for the Open Society Institute (Soros) in Budapest.

Is he by any stretch of the imagination, a top scientist?

Or Seth Schultz, Special Advisor on Science & Innovation to Global Covenant of Mayors

Formerly worked on climate and sustainable development issues at the Clinton Foundation

How about Linda StegProfessor of Environmental Psychology.

She gained her PhD at the University of Groningen with a thesis entitled ‘Gedragsverandering ter vermindering van het autogebruik’ [Behavioural change to reduce car use]

A top scientist?

The list goes on, political nominations by governments:

“A total of 590 nominations from 39 countries in the world were received and a team of 86 authors were selected by the committee to take on the responsibility of writing each chapter of the report together. IPCC reported that the members of all three IPCC Working Groups carefully considered all nominations and developed the final list of authors and review editors in a detailed and iterative selection process.

The selection was undertaken according to the Principles Governing IPCC Work, considering the required scientific, technical and socio-economic expertise, geographical representation, gender balance, and the inclusion of experts with and without previous IPCC experience. [Don’t they say they should not be policy prescriptive?]

“The selection of the authors for the IPCC’s 1.5°C report is the first step in the critical journey started at COP21. This special report will facilitate this important journey by assessing the available science and highlighting the policy options available to support the achievement of a climate safe, equitable and sustainable world,” said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of Working Group II”.