2011-06-16 04:20:56This is bad
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.170.32

New IPCC error: renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace

A counter by Michael Tobis

I admit to being more inclined to follow Lynas than Tobis on this and I think that this is potentially worse than the previous non-scandals about the IPCC. There's alleged cherry-picking in the press release and one of the IPCC authors is supposedly a Greenpeace activist.

I wish the IPCC committees were given entirely separate identities rather than WG1, 2, 3. It's all too easy now for skeptics to claim that the IPCC is tainted and authored by political activists.

Added: another article on the subject by Andy Revkin

2011-06-16 04:31:16
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

WG3 = Stinky

WG2 = Smudged

WG1 = Still clean

2011-06-16 05:16:48
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

There are some good comments below the DotEarth article that Andy linked above.  Well worth reading.

2011-06-16 05:44:43
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I agree with Tobis on this one.  I don't see the big deal here.  Lynas doesn't identify any specific problems with the paper in question, except that he doesn't like that they phase-out nuclear power.  There have been a number of studies and reports finding that we could meet 100% of energy demand with renewable sources by 2050 (I'm currently detailing them in the Advanced rebuttal to "Renewables can't provide baseload power" - see here).  77% isn't even that aggressive. 

So what's the problem here - that Lynas and McIntyre don't like Greenpeace?  As Tobis asks, isn't Greenpeace allowed to perform research too?  It's not new for IPCC lead authors to reference their own research in the report.  They're lead authors specifically because they've done research in the field in question.

I'm just not seeing the big controversy here.

2011-06-16 06:11:39
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Here we have McIntyre playing at dog whistle politics again.  Did the author break any rules or have a conflict of interest?  It seems yes....so OFFS on that one, really this type of thing is unacceptable and heads ought to roll, we cannot hand deniers information on a plate like this.  Yes, we do not want advocacy groups involved in the IPCC-- they make far too easy a target for ideologues like McI and his friends.

But the real question that we should also be asking (and which McIntyre seems to have come up empty on) is checking the numbers.  Are the numbers and information correct?  Otherwise McI et al. are simply arguing the mother of all strawmen and attacking the source rather than the facts and content?  And this guy claims to be an auditor?   

Libertarians hate and despise groups like the WWF and Greenpeace with a passion, so this narrative that has been constructed by McI plays into that-- he is "cleverly" playing into people's conspiracy argument that the IPCC is run by activists who want to control us and steal our hard-earned money.  This narrative has been constructed to hit all the right nerves with the libertarian crowd and conspiracy theorists.  Sad this is yet another attempt by the obsessed McI to maufacture controversy, and going by the comments below the Lyman article he has succeeded...hardly surprising, the "skeptics" are hungry and McI knows how to feed them fodder.  

Sad that the journalist fell for McI's bait/fodder. Framing the issue as a "mistake" as Lyman does is totally disingenuous, yes a mistake in judgement, but not necessarily a mistake in content-- huge difference.  The WWF and Greenpeace have been known to do good work, yes they are an advocacy group, but ultimately WWF in particular focuses on the science, so the two are not incompatible.

Now if there are issues with the numbers and content then I'll shut up.

Could I ask a huge favour can someone post this at Michael's place.  That or present some of my observations under your name?  Thanks very muchly.

2011-06-16 07:15:38
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

The WWF is considered a pretty middle class organisation in the UK. At least I thought so.
It's the sort of thing my aunty would send money to :-)

So if libertarians don't like it then they're missing something.

2011-06-16 07:24:33
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Apparently Lynas took at least 20 days to spot Teske was an author:

http://www.euractiv.com/en/specialreport-solarpower/ipcc-author-solar-power-reach-grid-parity-eu-2017-interview-505060

2011-06-16 07:33:28
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Hah!

My 'friend' (not really) Philip Bratby is posting comments on that Lynas page that Andy S posted.

"Phillip Bratby says:

“So what to conclude?”

That the IPCC is corrupt and should be disbanded forthwith.

That yet again Steve McIntyre has come up with the goods."

 

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc1702.htm

I have ecountered him before commenting on an English local newspaper, opposing a wind farm.

He is a retired phycist that worked in the UK nuclear energy industry. He now 'advises' anti-wind farm groups/nimbys that campaign aginst wind farms, mainly in the west of England. If you read the submission to parliament above, he says wind energy is a waste of time. He completely failed to say in that submission that he worked in the nuclear energy industry, in fact I beleive when he made that submission he was still acting as a consultant to nuclear energy customers.

I publically 'outed' him on the newspaper.

ADDED: oops, nope that link I gave is for climate science!
But I'm sure he has done the same for wind energy as well??
I'll see if I can find it.

Here's the anti wind submission he made to parliament:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/195/195we07.htm

2011-06-16 07:45:08Perhaps...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
99.95.221.238

SkS should create a new series called, "Mountains out of molehills."

2011-06-16 07:46:13
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

BTW 'geronimo' also rings a bell, assuming it is someone using the same name. Can't remember where I have encountered them before. Possible on some UK newspapers??

2011-06-16 07:54:20
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Looking at those two Parliament links, Bratby submiited the anti-wind rant in 2008 and failed to mention he worked in the nuclear energy industry. About 1 or 2 years ago, I actually sent an email to the contact email address on the Parliament site pointing this out.

The climate science CRU submission Bratby made is Feb 2010 and he reveals that he worked in nuclear energy. So probably my efforts have forced him to reveal his true past.

Appologies for going off topic, but at the time I was really annoyed that the guy was keeping his past quite, especially as it is relevant to any submissions he makes to parliament consultations.

2011-06-16 08:05:02
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Just posted a comment as a reply to Bratbys post, it is a cheeky one so will have to see if Lynas lets it through moderation.

Phillip Bratby,
As an ex-nuclear energy consultant/employee...
How is your anti-wind advising business going?
Pension paying well?

I also included a link to Skeptical Science.

2011-06-16 08:16:30
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I'm sorely tempted to write a "where's the beef?" post on this subject, highlighting that as Alby and I have noted, criticisms from McIntyre and Lynas are of the author, not the science.  That's not auditing, that's ad hom.  I was actually thinking about doing a post on this report (the contents, not the authors), and could include a discussion of this "controversy".  Problem is finding time to do it.  I'm pretty busy at the moment.

2011-06-16 09:19:32
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.170.32

The beef is that that Greenpeace is widely seen, especially on the political right, as an elitist, radical movement of anti-capitalists and law-breakers. This whole affair is a perfect fit for denialists who claim that the IPCC is politicized and corrupt. 

Of course, this has nothing to do with the contents of the IPCC report, but it has everything to do with perceptions of the integrity and impartiality of the IPCC, which in political terms is more important. Especially in the USA these days, facts play second fiddle to perceptions and myth, and these events will only bolster the inactivist narrative.

We have had all the facts on our side for years now and we're still getting politically trounced by the opposition. The US and Canada have a pathetic track record on climate and our politicians hardly dare to even mention the issue. Yes, this an ad hominem attack; yes, it's irrelevant to the underlying technical issue; that's the whole point and why it's so hard to counter. 

2011-06-16 09:27:57
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.152

It's more like a PR failure than a real problem. It sucks that Lynas jumped on this. There's no new beef indeed, just the same old regurgitated beef.  I'm afraid we'll have to deal with this non-scandal sooner or later.

2011-06-16 10:11:58
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.105.75

It looks like the IPCC folks are just babes in the woods. It IS a PR failure, and that means that it IS a real problem.

In football terms: an own goal.

2011-06-16 10:35:07
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Fair point about the PR failure.  It's just frustrating that it's always about PR instead of science.  Anyway, I'll try to find some time to do a post on this at some point.

2011-06-16 11:23:00The supposedly questionable paper
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.155.244

was prepared by the Institute ofTechnical Thermodynamics, part of the GermanAerospace Center (DLR).  Of its authors, at least two have straightforward academic affiliations.  Consequently treating this as simply a Greenpeace propaganda report is unwarrented.

Its supposed major shortcoming is that it assumes energy use will fall while population will rise.  It does so by assuming in the reference scenario that energy intensity (energy use per unit GDP) will decline at the same rate it has fallen in the EU over the period 1990-2004 (1.25% per annum), and that it will fall to the level of energy intensity already achieved in Japan in 2007 within the next 30 years.  For the most aggressive emissions reduction scenario, it assumes that active policies will further reduce energy intensity so that the total reduction is 1.4% per annum.

These assumptions are explicitly stated in the paper.

The apparent counter argument to these assumptions is simply an undefended assumption that energy intensity cannot be reduced.

My response would be that this is a storm in a tea-cup.  Unfortunately Steve McIntyre has a very big megaphone and will turn this gnat's fart of an issue into a major controversy.

Having said that, I would in no way be adverse to excluding people (and the papers they author) from any IPCC process if those people have a direct connection to an advocacy group such as, for example, Greenpeace or The Heritage Foundation.  If all the key deniers want to kick a home goal that will permanently exclude themselves from the IPCC process, who am I to stand in the way.

2011-06-16 14:18:19
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

I would also be interested to know whether or not McIntyre found out what happened by himself-- he is likely far too obsessed with his witch hunt against Mann et al. to read a paper on renewables.  I would bet that one of his fans (who are convinced that the IPCC is evil) made the connection and then relayed it to McIntyre.  McI has the megaphone and he basks in the glory.

Someone ought to ask McI when and how he allegedly made this 'discovery', and if not who let him know.

2011-06-16 14:47:03
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

Hey Tom, would you be interested in writing the post on this report and the "controversy"?

2011-06-16 15:22:49
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

Hop over to SheWonk's place (The Policy Lass), she has some interesting facts and insights on this that may help with your write up.

2011-06-17 01:42:41
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Albie, pretty much the same as I've been saying.  I'll reference that post if I do the write-up on this story.

2011-06-17 01:58:30
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

No worries Dana.

I like it how she shows the duplicty of McI's claim that minin copanies have higher standards when it comes to issuing press releases. Priceless!  Some of the commentators also have some good insights.

 

2011-06-17 02:56:41
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.155.244

Sorry Dana, I don't think I would have more to add than my comment here.

2011-06-17 03:12:14Joe Romm has addressed this matter...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
99.95.221.238

in today's postings on Climate Progress.

2011-06-17 04:54:47
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Badger, I'll check out CP.  I've had some time freed up on Saturday afternoon, so I'll try to write something up this weekend.

2011-06-17 05:36:05
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.162.190

I challenged McI on something like this about a year ago. This was on record-keeping practices in industry and academia but I broadened the point into McI's general claim that everything is rosy in mining and lousy in climate science,

McI says I misconstrued him and then restated the point I had just made in conclusion.

I lost the will to contest McI further on this. Willard picked up my comment and blogged on it.

2011-06-17 07:40:47
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.169

3 authors from Chevron, 1 from Greenpeace. BigOil wins 3-1.

2011-06-17 08:22:47
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Nicely done Riccardo, but make that 4-1:

WRIGHT, Raymond M.
Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ)
Jamaica

and a miner, a miner!

HAGELÜKEN, Christian
Umicore Precious Metals Refining
Germany

We can also play that game Stevie M.

Good grief and there were how many contributors in total?  Almost 7 pages worth, almost 100 contributors in total, one of which was from GP, and McI makes it sound like it was authored by GreenPeace 'activists'?!

2011-06-17 08:57:25Never underestimate,,,
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

the power of Greenpeace activists!

2011-06-17 09:02:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Good points, I'll make note of the large number of authors (and lead authors), and the fact that 4 others are from oil companies.

2011-06-17 09:06:22
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

The miner Dana, don't forget the miner!  ;)  LOL.

Seriously though, one of the Chevron guys works with geothermal energy.  Still four to one, 3 FF and one miner.

 

2011-06-17 09:32:01
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Hey, it's still Chevron, and Chevron is primarily an oil company.

Precious metals refining I don't see as much of a conflict of interest.

2011-06-17 11:24:12
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.155.244

Dana, heavy metals mining is very much a conflict of interest.  All heavy metals mining uses a very large quantity of fossil fuels in extraction, and typically use an even larger amount in refining, or else require large quantities of energy from other sources.  Hence they have a financial interest in cheap power.  Finally, iron in particular uses very large quantities of carbon to make steel, with the prefered source being coal on economic grounds.

 

On the other hand, you should certianly mention that the fourth Chevron guy is in renewable energy.

2011-06-17 13:17:26
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

Fair enough, I'll mention the mining company and Chevron geothermal guy.

2011-06-18 00:01:48
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

I would also caution against being too hard on Lynas.  He's been a bit quick with his assesments, but in all, he's an important ally if we are going to get anywhere on mitigation in the near future.

2011-06-18 00:08:00
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.60.157

He wrote was is supposed to be a useful book on the impact of global warming: "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet". I have a copy, but I haven't read it yet.

2011-06-18 00:52:46
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

Yes,

 

This is really good and if anyone has netflix streaming they should find the Nat Geo show based on this and watch.  It's somewhat dated but his message is clear.  Lynas is in the 350 club, he just takes hits from people like Romm all the time because of his postion on Nuclear.

2011-06-18 01:23:27
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Lynas' book is excellent.  It's hard not to be rough on him when he sides with McIntyre though.

2011-06-18 01:34:35
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

He f-ed this up, no question.  But there are issues here that go beyond the recent phony controversy.  the real issue is the type of mitigating that we do.  there are 2 sides and this issue it is never talked about much but instead the issue always revolves around 'mitgate yes/no' when it should be 'mitigate how?'.  Also, if we kick Lynas too many times, we fall into the trap of looking like we 'eat our own'.  We don't, we just disagree, but the conversation has now shifted.  We could use this as an way to square the conversation where it belongs.  How to mitigate!

2011-06-18 02:09:48
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.159

I might agree to not be to harsh to Lynas or anyone on our side. But what to do when he attacks our common side? I thinks it's fair to say that he's a good guy in general (I loved his book) but this time went beyond the acceptable. I think we can and should point this out.

2011-06-18 02:27:37
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

All,

We can have the same concerns (I do not like talk of "sides"), but just like good friends, we should be permitted to disagree now and again.  We all make mistakes, but the critique has to be carefully worded, not like Joe Romm (I like him, for the most part, but man he does overshoot sometimes).  So constructively and politely point out what is wrong with his piece, but be sure at some point to build the bridge again and reaffirm our support of what Lynas is doing, and give him some exposure by linking to his book-- a nice gesture.

In fact, this is a good eaxmple of how compelling the "skeptics" can be, even smart people can be fooled by the sophistry.  At least at first. But then one digs deeper and we see that the accusation was no more than a thin veneer.  Maybe try and encourage Lynas to write a follow up now that more facts have emerged.

I'm not being eloquent here, but I hope you get the jist of what I'm trying to say.

As for McI, don't hold back!  He is now claiming that he was only critiquing the "press release"-- that is not my understanding of the timeline or substance of his critique at all.  Wish I had the time to look into that, b/c if true that claim now being made by him makes him a liar.

And last, but not least, if you feel that the report had some shortcomings, be sure to mention those too.  

2011-06-18 02:37:09
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

I agree with Albatross' ideas.  And yes, you put it eloquently, I was a bit unclear.  As riccardo states, Lynas' mistakes need to be mentioned, just very tactfully.

2011-06-18 03:29:53
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I started working on this last night.  It's still very rough, but as Alby suggested, I focused primarily on McIntyre (also bear in mind that the manufactured controversy is just one section of the post, and I'm trying to focus at least as much on the report itself).  Here's what I said about Lynas at the end:

Until the "skeptics" and "auditors" can come up with substantive scientific arguments rather than empty logical fallacies, it would behoove those of us who understand the magnitude of the climate problem and importance of addressing it (like Mark Lynas) to simply ignore these manufactured controversies rather than magnifying them.

Seem reasonable?

 

2011-06-18 03:57:28
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

I like that.

2011-06-18 04:12:31
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.162.190

I'm prepared to write a short counter-point to the article that I would expect Dana to write. This could be included with Dana's post or I could simply post it as a comment.

My position is simply that it's wrong to have employees of advocacy groups or corporations as lead authors in IPCC reports. There's no problem having such people as contributing authors for WG2 and WG3 reports and I think that, given the reality of these fields of research, using grey literature is necessary.

Although I am sympathetic to Lynas, I think he overstated the case in his anger and I wish he hadn't praised McI the way he did. It's kind of pathetic to see many of the commenters on his blog wishfully thinking that Lynas has become some kind of apostate and convert to the denialist cause (and I think that Lynas is remiss for not putting them straight). His sucking-up to Curry is naive, to put it mildly. The cynic in me also can help suspecting that all this attention won't hurt his upcoming book sales.

The press release issue (now that I've read it) is a minor one in my mind. Perhaps some PR person got a little over zealous placing a hook in the opening paragraph, but if you read the whole thing it's well balanced, I think. It's typical of McI that he's trying to make what is, at worst, a small error of judgement, into a conspiracy. Molehills-->mountains, that's what he does.

I think it would be a tactical error to respond to this with an admit-no-fault counterblast. Any argument that implies that the three Chevron employees somehow balance out the one Greenpeace employee will need to made with great care to avoid damaging the reputation of the IPCC and its report further. Besides, it's likely that all these people are decent researchers who have made a positive and unbiased contribution.

2011-06-18 04:21:31
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Andy,

Re Chevron, from my position, the revelance of mewntioning the Chevron people is not to suggest  that they are in any way up to no good or have an agenda, it just so beautifully shows McI's bias and his blind spot, it also speaks to his hypocrisy.  He seeks out molehills and then amplifies them beyond belief.

I do not see any environmentalists shouting foul that Chevron was involved int he report and that it is a conpsiracy by them to dictate the outrcome of the report and such and such.

Maybe it is time for a skeptical overview of McI.  It could be the "Mountains out of Molehills" series.

2011-06-18 05:13:09
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Andy - you're certainly free to write another post on the subject.  I'd prefer not to include it in mine, just because I want to focus on the actual science and findings of the report, and as it is already I've probably devoted half the post to this manufactured controversy.  Another option would be to pull out most of the manufactured controversy section, and combine it with yours in a seperate post.

Personally I don't care that one of the lead authors works for Greenpeace, because he's been a lead author on peer-reviewed energy research, so he's clearly qualified.  The only reason it's an issue is that it allows the deniers to engage in ad hominem attacks and ignore the actual content of the report.  As we've said, it's a PR issue.  I certainly don't blame the IPCC for making their decisions based on science rather than basing them on public relations, because it's a scientific organization.  But you could make the case that they should also consider PR, thanks to deniers like McIntyre who make mountains out of molehills.

2011-06-18 06:28:45
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.162.190

Dana, my bit's not worth another post, so I'll maybe just do a comment.

Albatross, I agree that McI has the blinkers on and is a hypocrite, but an attack on him over this issue might appear that we're trying to divert attention away from his criticisms. Of course, that's exactly the tu quoque tactic McI used in defending Wegman against gross plagiarism by manufacturing some petty charge against Bradley.

I think a series on him is overdue. I have been for a long time been thinking about doing a post on industry audits versus peer review, an area where McI is really full of it. This might make sense as part of a series. It would be something along the lines of this comment (which I quoted previously) that I made at CA, but expanded to include some other stuff.

How about McMountains out of McMolehills for a series title?

2011-06-18 06:47:35
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Nice Andy :)

2011-06-18 08:02:09
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.23.74

And a little icon with a mole sticking it's head up out of the ground wearing a hard hat.

2011-06-18 08:23:13
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

And a John standing over him with a bat? ;)

Just kidding of course.  Neat idea.

 

2011-06-18 08:28:06
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Hm, that gets tiring on the jaw.  Maybe just McMountains out of Molehills?  After all, they aren't his molehills, though they sure are his mountains.

2011-06-18 08:52:49Series titles
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229
What about "McIntyre Molehills", with each blog post being an example where McIntyre exaggerates small issues out of all proportions. I'll do the usual button, put it in the left margin.

Which reminds me, need to put Christy Crocks in the margin...

2011-06-18 14:27:28
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

Better read this before writing:

http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/questions-the-ipcc-must-now-urgently-answer/

2011-06-18 14:42:56
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37
Ugh Lynas just does not get it. He's still obsessing over the Greenpeace membership rather than the science. I don't think this changes the post, because I don't want to make Lynas' failure to 'get it' a main point. Though I may take him up on answering his question regarding how this is different from his ridiculous hypothetical Exxon scenario. Here's what I've got so far if anyone wants to have a look. I've asked MartinS if he wants to add any more to the post as well.
2011-06-18 14:57:23
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.155.244

Dana, if you have not already seen it, the comment by Stephan Singer, WWF Director of Energy Policy on Lynas' blog is well worth reading, and directly adresses Andy S's point above.  In part it reads:

 

"My strong feeling is that this is not about content but form. NGOs are biased, full stop! and if Greenpeace says 2 and 2 equals 4 it MUST be wrong…..and the rest of the world are all neutral and lovely people….How naive can you get?
I even dare to say – and you would not expect this from me – that the inclusion of business scientists which by the way outnumber NGO scientists by factor 5 to 10 in many IPCC reports, is usually productive and have contributed to quality in many cases. Its a fundamental myth to believe that “lobbyist scientists” from business and NGOs alike are all biased and university scientists are all neutral." 

He goes on to make the point that no government has questioned the contents of the report.  Indeed, from what I have read, the deniers have not attempted to show the disputed scenario is false by analysis, only innuendo.

The url for the comment is

http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/new-ipcc-error-renewables-report-conclusion-was-dictated-by-greenpeace/#comment-1976

 

Finally, I see no particular reason to go easy on Lynas.  After extensive discussion of his original post he has posted again on the topic, essentially repeating his original claims.  The problem with that is the original claims contained no substantive analysis of the report.  It merely dismissed the contents of the report because Lynas does not like Greenpeace, and a member of Greenpeace was involved with the report.

That is not who science is done. It is how politics is done.  It is perfectly acceptable to be suspicious of a report because of the connections of its author, and consequently subject it to carefull scrutiny.  Then if that srutiny finds a flaw in the report, well then you have a story.  But to simply reject the report because you don't like its conclusions in the manner of Anthony Watts, or because you don't like the organizational associations of the author as Lynas has done is to eschew rational debate in favour of tribalism and prejudice.

Personally, I think Lynas should be absolutely hammered on that point.  Or perhaps better, that point should be absolutely hammered so that the conclusion that Lynas has in this instance failed reasonable standards of analysis should be obvious to all.

2011-06-18 15:16:16
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana, the hypothetical scenraio is annoying, it just frame sthe whole issue in a combative way...and arguing hypotheticals is not constructive or helpful, and I also do not think that they are equivalent.  That is I do not think it is an appropriate analogy.

Reading the comments alsmost made me ill, (especially seeing Curry and other depsicable characters sucking up to him), so I eventually postingd something.  Also, see comments by an Adrian-- he asked some credible questions.

2011-06-18 15:21:47
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Oh, and someone took him to task on his use of the word 'error', it was not approrpiate.  Mark tries to cover, but it was not convincing-- his words were misleading and emotive. 

It is perhaps worth speed reading the thread and picking out the constructive and reasoanble comments, there are some good ones as Andy has pointed out.

They (McI and Lynas) seemed to have jumped the gun, and only now have contacted the IPCC to try and get more relevant and specific information.  In the end it looks like the person who drafted the press release messed up a bit, and it does raise the issue that the IPPC may be vunerable to COI, but that problem plagues everyone.  But to me, that is what this boils down to, that and a hell of a lot of hot air from the usual culprits and their merry band of rabid fans.

I agree this is how politic sis done, not science, and Lynas is thowing the baby out with the bathwater in an poor attempt to get at a juicy story.

The 'skeptics" are fully expecting greenies/commies etc. to turn on poor old Mark for showing some fortitude and ethical standing (they want to believe every word he has written), so  please do not give them the gratification, my unsolicted advice offered up thread still stands.

2011-06-18 21:44:18Andy S
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

By God, I thnk he's got it! 

2011-06-19 02:30:38
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

 

I think the timeline is critical here.  I could be wrong about this, but it looks like Lynas wrote the piece, and only during the subsequent kerfuffel were scattered attempts made to approach the IPCC.  So all we have is a piece with emotive language and accusations, without the facts being investigated first.  This is innuendo and dog-whistle politics at its finest, and McI is excellent at that.  What should matter, and McIntyre and apologists say about Wegman, is the content of the report.  The difference being is that people have looked at the science in Wegman and it too is seriously flawed on some key issues.

As far as I can tell, McI and Lynas and others have made no effort to prove that there was in fact a conflict of interest, or that it lead to bias.  Again, the insinuation is made and no substantive evidence is provided. We are left with a lot of 'what ifs'.

And while we all fight over re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic, this is what is happening in the real world:

2011-06-19 03:31:55
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.146.82.206

Hi folks,

I'll try and get around to dropping Mark Lynas a line tomorrow - we correspond from time to time. My take is that Mark is entirely at issue with some of the solutions, and not at all at issue with the problem.  I think he needs to reiterate the latter in no uncertain terms and I'll say so.

The trouble is that it's impossible to have debates like these in the public arena without vested interests jumping in and twisting this way and that.

Cheers - John

2011-06-19 04:15:13
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.162.190

To be clear, I have no objections to the content of this or any other IPCC report. It's entirely the politics and PR of all this that dismays me. I can't help thinking that the IPCC (and some of you) have a tin ear, politically speaking, when it comes to the widespread public attitudes towards Greenpeace. Even in the confused and apathetic political centre (the people who we should be aiming to win over) Greenpeace is seen, perhaps unfairly, as shrill and ideologically extreme. Having said that, I agree that Lynas's response has also been clumsy and naive, so I have no objection to seeing him receive harsh criticism, despite the glee that this in-fighting will bring to the likes of Watts and McI .

In a few hours' time a local community group has set up a video Q&A session with George Monbiot. I'll ask him what his take on this is and I'll report back.

2011-06-19 11:16:57
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

At this point I think the post is still fine as-is.  I don't want to make it about Lynas being a doof.  I'm trying to keep the discussion of the manufactured controversy to a minimum and focus on the report itself.

2011-06-19 12:55:29
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.155.244

dana, I would agree that it is an excellent post as is.  One minor problem is that under figure 1 you refer to the blue lines as black lines.

2011-06-19 14:08:01
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37
Thanks Tom. Strange, I think I copied that figure caption straight ouf of the report. Anyway, I'll fix that. Haven't heard anything back from Martin yet as to whether he's got anything to add to the post. I'll probably post it in the blog forum tomorrow for official review.
2011-06-20 03:52:24
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

John (Mason),

Thanks for contacting Mark Lynas.  How did it go?

 

Andy,

How did the Monbiot video conference go?

2011-06-20 03:58:27Monbiot's take, for what it's worth
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.162.190

I didn't get to ask George Monbiot in person what he thinks of this issue (there were about 200 people at the presentation and I didn't manage to attract the attention of the moderator, Briony Penn). Monbiot offered to answer questions submitted by email.

My email to him:

Hi George

Thanks for the very interesting presentation earlier today.

Unfortunately, I couldn't catch Briony's eye and so didn't get to ask my question. Minus the preamble, which you won't need, it is: Do you think it's helpful, on balance, to have Greenpeace employees acting as lead authors on IPCC reports?

I should tell you that I am part of the authors' team on John Cook's Skeptical Science blog and we've been having an internal discussion on our private forum on how to respond to the issues raised recently by Mark Lynas. With your permission, I would like to copy your answer onto that private forum.

Cheers

Andy Skuce ("Andy S")

His reply:

Hi Andy,

 I think there's a real problem here, and it amazes me that, given the level of scrutiny it faces, the IPCC could have learnt so little that it would allow this to happen. I see it as a stupid mistake. G

2011-06-20 04:13:16
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.146.82.206

Albatross,

Still waiting to hear from Mark, but having actually read the threads on his blog I figure he might have a busy inbox!

My message to him:

 

Hi Mark - hope things go well with you!
 
I'm a bit involved now with the Skeptical Science website, and seeing as we're both here in Blighty I offered to make contact.
 
It would be useful to have a brief piece from you WRT your views on climate change simply to clear this up. I told them that so far as I know, you have not changed your view that AGW is a massive, clear and present threat to Mankind (the deniers have been mucking about with this as you can imagine/are likely aware), but it is the energy solutions to same where you and others differ (I include George in that). Could you possibly send me a couple of paragraphs setting things straight by any chance? SkS is a mostly respected website (although WUWT inhabitants despise the place, which should probably be interpreted as a plus). If that is OK by you, I will insist that the text be used verbatim or not at all.

The rest was fishing-chat that I've snipped! I'll post any response to the message here  in this thread. I've always got on fine with him and he always gets back to me - the problem he has created for himself is evident on his blog, where you see the likes of Anthony Watts welcoming him "to the club". I agree with George Monbiot that this could have been handled by the IPCC a lot better - in a nutshell they are a bit shit at PR - but I don't think anybody with half a brain could translate this into overturning the laws of physics! Most of the posts to Mark's blog are along the lines of "IPCC cock-up = ALL CLIMATE SCIENCE INVALIDATED!!!". I reckon that is what we need to attack - once again it is Dunning-Krugerism on a massive scale. This issue has diddly squat to do with climate science, period!

Cheers - John

2011-06-20 06:46:06
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
188.152.84.245

Bart Verheggen's take.

2011-06-20 09:11:49
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.162.190

The Economist's commentary, incuding a short interview with Pachauri

A critical look by Zeke Hausfather

The Carbon Brief

2011-06-21 00:09:25
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

New allegations, reported by Lynas, from the Director of a environmental group for rivers.  It suggests bias to hydro power.  This could be a biased allegation, considering the sourse, but I haven't looked at it yet.

 

http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/new-allegation-of-ipcc-renewables-report-bias/

2011-06-21 00:17:19Could it be...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

that Lynas is pissed because he was not on the IPPC committee? He certainaly seems to be grinding a personal axe on this matter.

2011-06-21 01:31:51
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.61.243

Andy,

In the note to Montbiot, you should certainly have mentioned the countervailing balance of the petroleum- and mining-industry personnel! That might have given him pause for thought.

2011-06-21 01:52:51
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I had read that the report is too bullish on hydropower.  But again, who would you have write the hydropower section of the report?  I think this is probably a more valid criticism than the Greenpeace complaints though.

2011-06-21 02:16:43
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.61.243

Possibly the most useful remark I've seen was The Economist's observation that the IPCC don't seem to have anyone in charge of public relations / communications. If correct, this really is a problem: These days, 90% of the game is half PR! (to paraphrase Yogi Berra). If the IPCC can send out a press release without thinking about how it will be received, somebody up there really is brain-dead!

2011-06-21 02:23:15
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.146.82.206

I've heard back from Mark - I don't thing we'll have much joy. "unavailable for comment", as they say in the BBC!

 

However I'll keep the comms channel open. George is away a few days but I'll see him for a muse over the whole matter when he gets back to Machynlleth - about time we chewed the cud properly again.

 

Perhaps there is a point here of sorts, which I'll put as a question: should the IPCC not concentrate on the climate science (i.e. likely impacts & timeline, and leave the debate-cum-squabble about the solutions to others? They might be doing themselves a favour if they did!

 

Cheers - John

2011-06-21 03:02:31
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

John,

Thanks for trying. I'm not sure I understand your post though-- did he ignore your email, get defensive?

As for "should the IPCC not concentrate on the climate science (i.e. likely impacts & timeline, and leave the debate-cum-squabble about the solutions to others?".  I think I am rapidly beginnign to agree with that :)  The solutions part is a bloody nightmare and is going to be a huge political battle

Justa thought is there anyone from coal involved in the wrioting or drafting of the IPCC reports or special reports?

 

Neal,

Yes, IMHO, the Economist has nailed it.  I have actually wriiten to a prominent (and influential) climate scientists with whom I am in regular contact with on this very issue.

2011-06-21 03:26:35
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.146.82.206

Albatross - mainly a case of inbox-inundation I think! Mark knows he doesn't have to get defensive with me.

 

It'll come out in the wash, as they say.

 

Cheers - John

2011-06-21 03:28:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Well the IPCC report is just about what's technologically and economically feasible.  They leave it up to policymakers to determine what's politically feasible.  I think that's a reasonable approach.  Somebody's got to do it, and it might as well be the IPCC.  That's what WG III is for.

2011-06-21 03:37:41
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
192.84.150.209

As for John Mason and Albatros point on the IPCC, I think we should open a thread dedicated to discuss it, pro and cons of the current structure, limitations, possible reform and the like.

A summary of the discussion with the different positions could even be an interesting post. Maybe even signed as Team SkS :)

2011-06-21 04:12:29IPCC Structure
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

If I recall correctly, the now infamous news release was composed and ditributed by the Office of the Secretariat for the IPCC. To the best of my understanding, all UN activities are controlled by secretariats. I doubt that this basic structure can be changed for the IPCC.

This particular incident is a tempest-in-a-teapot that will soon fade from the radar screen.

2011-06-21 04:12:54
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

John M.,

 

Thanks.

2011-06-21 08:16:16
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

Peter Broussard showed up in the Lynas/hydro thread.  His complaints are reasonable and he seems to have something on the way that the chapter is written.  It is rather pro-hydro.  This does not mean that it is wrong.  The section on ecological impacts is extensive in chapter5.  What I will say is that I'm not sure the impact of hydro on a future water deprived country could be quantified, and promoting hydro everywhere could be detrimental.  In all, although Peter has his biases, his thoughts are well described and not meant to undermine the IPCC credibility one bit.

 

 

John Mason

I'm not sure Lynas has to reaffirm his thoughts on climate change and mitigation.  I think he's one of the best communicators of impacts, putting faces and ethics choices on those climate impacts.  I'm pretty sure this is about him being pro-nuclear, and this wouldn't be the first time he has said something stupid.  I just hope he isn't out to destroy the IPCC while on this anti-green crusade.  His choice of allies at this point is an incredibly bad tactical move, as he needs people like himself and the IPCC to bridge the gap between people like Romm and other pro-nuke types.  I just think he needs to understand that the people he is aligning with aren't out to improve the IPCC, or any of the WG's.  They have been trying to sink it for years.  They want to avoid mitigation at any cost, and will play dirty to do so.  If that is his goal, I would be very surprised, and disappointed.  I just don't think anything will get done without people like Lynas.

2011-06-21 08:23:35
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Good (and sage) points Grypo.

2011-06-21 15:52:13
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.146.82.206

Seconded. Very good points, Grypo. The choice of allies is bizarre - and I usually find Judith Curry pretty incomprehensible at the best of times and have concluded attention-seeking is somewhere in the mix. Whether that observation can be extended laterally in this case remains to be seen, but I suspect all will become clearer in the coming weeks - these things tend to blow up on the Internet and it is when the dust clears that the actuality becomes a little clearer. Whether Mark didn't understand how the denialist machine operates - or whether he does but doesn't care - is what I'm trying to figure: at face value either seems implausible, but it is surprising how naive some seasoned operators can be - witness the 10:10 film last Autumn. It may well be that those of us most heavily involved in the online debate have developed a far better understanding of how things "work" than some of the best-known campaigners simply because we have spent so long on the cyber front-line.

Cheers - John