Canadian climate change critic gets ‘take down’ notice from IPCC lawyers at the UN
It says that documents released via the Secret Santa leak are “not for public distribution” and requests that I remove them from my website. Which probably means it’s a good idea for those of you who are seeding the torrent to keep your clients open a while longer.
But really, the cat is out-of-the-bag. The damage is done. Thousands of copies of these documents are now out there. They can’t be recalled.
From No Frakking Consenus — The Secret Santa Leak — January 8, 2013
Thanks to a whistleblower, draft versions of most chapters of the IPCC’s upcoming report are now in the public domain. Among the new revelations: the IPCC has learned nothing from the Himalayan glacier debacle.
A week before Christmas, three data sticks containing 661 files and amounting to nearly one gigabyte of material came into my possession. They were created by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body currently at work on a high-profile report.
Due to be released in stages starting in September, this report will be promoted by government press conferences the world over. Officials will point to its findings and continue to spend billions on climate change measures.
The IPCC has three working groups. Respectively, they examine the scientific evidence related to climate change, the impacts on the human and natural world, and possible responses.
These data sticks were distributed to Working Group 2 personnel – those writing about impacts. The blue stick is labelled “Working Group II AR5 LAM1″ and refers to their first lead author meeting held in January 2011, in Japan. The gold stick is associated with their second meeting in San Francisco nearly a year later, the green one is from their third meeting, in Buenos Aires, 10 weeks ago.
The IPCC has confirmed the authenticity of sample documents on these sticks. Today I’m making this massive collection of data, which I call the Secret Santa leak, public. Some of these documents are already online. Many others would only have been released by the IPCC years from now. Still others the IPCC intended to keep hidden forever.
I’ve created a zip file of the contents of each stick and encourage you to download your own copies. See the bottom of this post for torrent info and other download options.
My 2011 book, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert, documents the IPCC’s numerous credibility problems. Among these is the disturbing influence of green activists on what is supposed to be a rigorous scientific body.
The Working Group 2 section of the upcoming IPCC report contains 30 chapters. The third draft of those chapters (known confusing as the Second Order draft internally) has not yet been written, but two earlier versions reside on these sticks. What’s known as the First Order draft runs to 2,465 pages and may be downloaded in full or by chapter below.
As part of its report-writing process, the IPCC invites feedback on its drafts from individuals it describes as “scientific expert reviewers.” The names of individuals so designated by Working Group 2 are listed here. The comments they submitted are on the green stick. The path is: Buenos Aires Documentation>c_ExpertReviewFiles>FOD_Comments
Most of these comments appear to be constructive, and will likely enhance the quality of the final report. But some of the individuals who took part are activists. Many of their suggestions amount to bald-faced attempts to embed activist source material – and activist perspectives – in a scientific document.
In other words, under the guise of “scientific expert review” the IPCC has facilitated an aggressive, behind-the-scenes, activist lobbying effort.
WWF PERSONNEL URGE THE IPCC TO CITE WWF PUBLICATIONS
The last major IPCC report, released in 2007, contained an embarrassing errorabout the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are expected to melt. This error received widespread media attention in early 2010, prompting prominent newspapers to call for the resignation of the IPCC’s chairman.
There’s nothing complicated about the Himalayan debacle. The IPCC authors responsible for writing Working Group 2′s Chapter 10 the last time around disregarded less alarming conclusions published in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature. They chose, instead, to rely on statements found in a publication produced by a green lobby group (see p. 10 here).
The group in question was the WWF. Still known in North America by its original name, the World Wildlife Fund, elsewhere it has rebranded itself as the World Wide Fund for Nature. Hardly a shoestring operation, the WWF has offices in more than 60 countries and a staff of 5,000.
The WWF is the outfit that brings us Earth Hour every March. Having funded four decades of its own activities with donations from the fossil fuel industry (its first corporate sponsor was Shell Oil), the WWF now thinks impoverished nations should leave their fossil fuels in the ground rather than using them to provide light, heat, and hospitals to their populations.
My book reveals how the WWF has, in the past, infiltrated the IPCC report-writing process. Two thirds of the chapters in the 2007 report included, among their personnel, at least one individual linked to the WWF. One third of the chapters were led by an WWF-affiliated author.
Neither the IPCC nor the WWF appear to have learned much about circumspection since then.
Susan Evans is employed by WWF Canada. She holds a Masters degree in zoology, but many of the comments she recently submitted to the IPCC are devoid of scientific content. For example, she sees this report as an opportunity to “foster a sense of stewardship and responsibility” toward the ecosystem (Chapter 00/comment 44).
On four separate occasions, Evans advises the IPCC to consult a 72-page handbook published by the WWF’s Global Arctic Programme (Chapter 00/comment 45, 2/727, 14/577, 15/367).
On three occasions, Evans calls the IPCC’s attention to a third WWF-produced document about Pacific marine ecosystems (13/300, 26/260, 26/417). In three further instances, she points to a fourth report about climate change in Western Canada that the WWF helped create (15/367, 15/370, 26/316). Elsewhere, she urges the IPCC to consult a fifth WWF document, a 69-page publication aboutmanaging water supplies (15/455).
In a lengthy comment concerning Chapter 20, Evans editorializes about the need to “significantly reduce our current rate of development and consumptive behaviours” and urges IPCC scientists to consult the WWF’s latest Living Planet report (20/16.1 and 16.2).
I wrote about that very document soon after it was released, pointing out that the terms equality and inequality appear 28 times. In other words, it’s a political treatise.
Evans’ efforts to get WWF perspectives included in the IPCC report are reinforced by her colleague, Cassandra Brooke – whom the IPCC tells us represents WWF’s head office in Switzerland. A formal bio is difficult to locate, but one dated 2008 says she holds a PhD in geography.
In her capacity as an expert reviewer, Brooke thinks the IPCC should pay attention to the same WWF arctic handbook Evans promotes on four separate occasions (4/943).
She urges IPCC scientists to get their information about mangroves and climate change by visiting a WWF website, and is disappointed that the IPCC report “does not recognise that cultural and spiritual values are a form of ecosystem service” (4/1011, 5/1204).
But it is her remarks about species extinction that are especially revealing. Chapter 19 is a synthesis chapter. Its purpose is to summarize the findings of the other 29 Working Group 2 chapters. The job of those authors, therefore, is to accurately reflect what is written elsewhere.
Brooke, commenting on Chapter 19, gets it backward. She observes that the language in Chapter 4 “is very vague” and “inconsistent in tone” with what Chapter 19 says. It’s clear she thinks the wording in Chapter 4 should be strengthened rather than the hyped summary toned down.
Brooke is distressed because Chapter 4 “seems to be distancing itself” from the “strong statements” about climate change and species extinction that appeared in the IPCC’s 2007 report (4/664, 19/428). But this retreat is good news. As I have discussed elsewhere, the IPCC relied on a single research paper that had already been demolished by other scholars. (One famous biologist called it “the worst paper I have ever read in a major scientific journal.”) The IPCC not only failed to pay attention to those vigorous rebuttals, it declined to let readers know they existed.
One would expect scientific expert reviewers to be pleased that the IPCC is now behaving more responsibly. One would expect them to applaud the IPCC’s shift toward more solid evidence.
But Brooke is not a real expert reviewer. She is a WWF employee. And the WWF is OK with exaggeration. As it declares on its main website: “It is nearly impossible to overstate the threat of climate change.”
OTHER ACTIVIST “EXPERT REVIEWERS”
Among the other organizations attempting to influence the IPCC’s scientific report via the expert review mechanism we find the Alliance of Small Island States. Its website freely acknowledges that it’s “an ad hoc lobby and negotiating voice” for certain political interests. Here are some others:
- Centre for Global Change
- Conservation International
- GenderCC, Women for Climate Justice
- International Rivers
- Norwegian Refugee Council
- Nourishing the Planet
- SeaTrust Institute
- Third World Network
On two other occasions she points them to a document titled Building Resilience to Climate Change (15/430, 16/123). This was published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, whose website talks about “a just world.”
But justice is a political concept. Reasonable people disagree about what justice looks like. Is a green group pursuing justice a reliable source of information? The IPCC apparently thinks so. The current Working Group 2 draft already cites theBuilding Resilience publication in Chapters 5 and 9 (see pp. 379, 402, and 813 of the 2,465-page draft).
Similarly, the activist group Germanwatch is concerned about “global equity” and champions certain political and economic ideas. Sven Harmeling, whom it employs as a climate policy team leader, twice urges IPCC authors to consult a joint WWF-Germanwatch discussion paper (14/555, 15/224).
Elsewhere he calls the IPCC’s attention to a second document co-published with the WWF titled Institutions for Adaptation (15/418). For good measure, he points to a third document, this one a briefing paper published by his employer and two other organizations (15/343).
Still another example is the International Rivers network. The people who work there see themselves as being “at the heart of the global struggle to protect rivers.” One of them, Katy Yan, describes herself on Twitter as a “climate campaigner.” She, too, is an IPCC expert reviewer.
Like the individuals mentioned above, Yan thinks that publications produced by her own organization deserve to be cited in a scientific report. She twice recommends a document titled Before the Deluge. It was written by the executive director of International Rivers – in other words, by her boss (3/752, 3/766).
Additionally, Yan recommends two news stories that were published on her organization’s website, an online bibliography of “key scientific articles” selected by her fellow activists, a 112-page report on sustainable water strategies, a 90-page report on alternative power in Guatemala, and two other documents about renewable energy in Chile. All of this material was produced in-house (3/869, 3/891, 27/339, 27/345).
All of it, therefore, is activist-generated grey literature – exactly the kind of thing that has caused the IPCC grief in the past.
What is the IPCC thinking? Why is it rolling out the red carpet for activists, permitting them to directly lobby IPCC authors?
That is not the way to prevent another Himalayan debacle. (To continue reading, click here)