Compounding this is the fact that IPCC editors could, and often did, ignore reviewers’ comments. Some editor responses were banal and others showed inconsistencies with other comments. Reviewers had to justify their requested changes but the responding editors appear to have been under no such obligation. Reviewers were sometimes flatly told they were wrong but no reasons or reliable references were provided.
In other cases reviewers tried to dilute the certainty being expressed and they often provided supporting evidence, but their comments were often flatly rejected. Some comments were rejected on the basis of a lack of space - an incredible assertion in such an important document.
The attitude of the editors seemed to be that simple corrections were accepted, requests for improved clarity tolerated but the assertions and interpretations that appear in the text were to be defended against any challenge.
An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that “hundreds of IPCC scientists” are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely “Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”.
In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”. Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60 per cent of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.
Two of these seven were contacted by NRSP for the purposes of this article - Dr Vincent Gray of New Zealand and Dr Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph, Canada. Concerning the “Greenhouse gas forcing …” statement above, Professor McKitrick explained “A categorical summary statement like this is not supported by the evidence in the IPCC WG I report. Evidence shown in the report suggests that other factors play a major role in climate change, and the specific effects expected from greenhouse gases have not been observed.”
Dr Gray labeled the WG I statement as “Typical IPCC doubletalk” asserting “The text of the IPCC report shows that this is decided by a guess from persons with a conflict of interest, not from a tested model”.
Determining the level of support expressed by reviewers’ comments is subjective but a slightly generous evaluation indicates that just five reviewers endorsed the crucial ninth chapter. Four had vested interests and the other made only a single comment for the entire 11-chapter report. The claim that 2,500 independent scientist reviewers agreed with this, the most important statement of the UN climate reports released this year, or any other statement in the UN climate reports, is nonsense.
“The IPCC owe it to the world to explain who among their expert reviewers actually agree with their conclusions and who don’t,” says Natural Resources Stewardship Project Chair climatologist Dr Timothy Ball. “Otherwise, their credibility, and the public’s trust of science in general, will be even further eroded.”
That the IPCC have let this deception continue for so long is a disgrace. Secretary General Ban Kai-Moon must instruct the UN climate body to either completely revise their operating procedures, welcoming dissenting input from scientist reviewers and indicating if reviewers have vested interests, or close the agency down completely.
Until then, their conclusions, and any reached at the Bali conference based on IPCC conclusions, should be ignored entirely as politically skewed and dishonest.
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