Dijkgraaf: “emails not directly related to IPCC”

On March 10, 2010, the UN and IPCC commissioned the InterAcademy Council (IAC), the umbrella organisation of all science academies in the world, to “conduct a thorough, independent review of the processes and procedures” followed by the IPCC in preparation of its Assessment Reports.

The request letter is online here signed jointly by Pachauri and Ban ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN. (In contrast, the terms of reference of the secretive Oxburgh inquiry remain undisclosed.)

The request letter didn’t mention the Cimategate letters, noting only that “a very small number of errors have been brought to light” in the Fourth Assessment Report, a document which they described as containing “thousands of peer-reviewed and independent scientific studies“.

An interesting turn of phrase. Peer-reviewed and “independent” scientific studies. I wonder what this means – is this term supposed to encompass NGO pamphlets?

They continue:

Given the gravity of the global threat posed by climate change, it is vitally important to ensure full confidence in the scientific process underpinning the assessments of the IPCC. Governments and the public at large look to the IPCC as the world’s most authoritative scientific body for assessing climate risk and informing climate policy.

As the IPCC embarks on its Fifth Assessment Report, it is imperative that its work be as accurate, objective, comprehensive and transparent as possible, and that the potential for future errors is minimized. It is vitally important that every step of the assessment process be clear, consistent and comprehensible.

Agreed. Unfortunately, one of the ongoing themes of this blog has been the failure of IPCC to live up to these pious objectives. Climate Audit readers have been aware of IPCC obstruction and non-transparency for some time.

Their acceptance of the UN-IPCC request by the Amsterdam-based InterAcademy Council is online here. The IAC is co-chaired by Robert Dijkgraaf, president of the Dutch National Academy and Lu Yongxiang, president of the Chinese science academy.

In a recent interview, Dijkgraaf was asked:

What about ‘Climategate’, the hacked emails from the British climate institute?

Dijkgraaf stated:

Those emails are not directly related to the work of the IPCC.

It is very tiresome to see one eminent scientist after another make untrue statements, apparently without making any effort to familiarize themselves with the topic on which they are opining. No matter how smart you are, you have to do the work. CRU scientists Jones, Briffa and Osborn were all important IPCC figures (together with Trenberth, Jones was a Coordinating Lead Author of chapter 2 on observations, while while Briffa and Osborn were Lead Authors for the controversial section on thousand-year proxy reconstructions.) Climategate emails in 2005 and 2006 are dominated by correspondence about IPCC activities of CRU’s Jones, Briffa and Osborn. The “trick … to hide the decline” arose in the context of a 1999 IPCC authors’ meeting and the most important manifestation of the “trick” was in the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports.

The Climategate emails provided relevant evidence on how IPCC scientists discharged or failed to discharge their duties to make the IPCC process as open and transparent as possible. Dijkgraaf’s claim that the emails are not “directly related to the work of the IPCC” is untrue and ill-informed. A bad start to this inquiry.

Dijkgraaf continues:

This affair shows how sensitive the issue is and what is at stake. Transparency is paramount. Scientists live in a glass house. The more the impact of knowledge grows, the more important it becomes to make clear how you reached a conclusion. Science often deals with public funding and public institutions. We should serve as an example. There are guidelines as to how a scientist should behave: ethical, honest, professional, open and respectful of the community.

Unfortunately, these pieties continue to be flouted by climate scientists – most recently by the Oxburgh “Report” – a report that not only fails to be “open and respectful of the community”, but whose secretiveness, tricky terms of reference and lack of due diligence is an obvious taunt to CRU critics and targets.


33 Comments

  1. Stacey
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 6:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It is very difficult to understand the approach taken by the various inquiries. One explanation maybe is that they are stuck in some historical time warp where they are the only ones in possession of information and now still think so.

    An counter analogy with history would be a small percentage of the population can read and it is only this small population that is capable of interpreting religious tracts.

    With the web and the reality of the global village the poor souls don’t stand a chance.

    The sad thing of course is that science loses and we become poorer for it.

  2. PJB
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 7:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sadly, it is the above comment that demonstrates a large part of the problem. With the advent of easily obtainable information, the journalists and news outlets are tending more and more to repeating those analyses provided to them.
    Instead of investigating and reporting, they are just regurgitating and pandering. Follow the money and it invariably leads to those that are interested in acquiring more money, no matter how the truth fares.
    Whistle-blowers, and intrepid people like Steve, are an example of persistance in the face of resistance and apathy. The more we know, the better off we are.
    Thanks Steve, your work is greatly appreciated.

  3. Peter Pond
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 7:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    ” …the public at large look to the IPCC as the world’s most authoritative scientific body for assessing climate risk and informing climate policy” – surely by now the public at large has learnt that the IPCC is a political, not a scientific, body?

    And as Stacey says, science loses out of all this. Fortunately there are enough real scientists in other fields that scientific advances may help us to solve some of the real problems that we have.

  4. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 7:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Was there a separate paper by Lu Yongxiang, president of the Academia Sinica? At high level, the Academy has had a fine reputation when I have encountered it.

  5. johnh
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 7:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The wagons have been circled and the defence strategy is to talk and talk until the natives give up and walk away. Sadly they are mistaken, if climategate has had only one effect it has been to allow people to voice concerns they once felt they could not express due to peer pressure. That peer pressure has gone
    snip – policy

  6. Fred
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 7:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Governments and the public at large look to the IPCC as the world’s most authoritative scientific body for assessing climate risk and informing climate policy.

    As the IPCC embarks on its Fifth Assessment Report, it is imperative that its work be as accurate, objective, comprehensive and transparent as possible, and that the potential for future errors is minimized. It is vitally important that every step of the assessment process be clear, consistent and comprehensible. ”

    So maybe they should start with their ludicrous claims to be 100% peer reviewed science.

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2010/04/whats-left-if-we-disregard-non-peer.html

  7. Dave L.
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 7:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If you have not read “Overheard” at Bishop Hill, then you are missing a clever parody which places these pseudo-investigations in true perspective.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/17/overheard.html

    “And the important thing is that Edward will get the right result, and it’s the result that counts, eh Bernard?”

  8. Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 8:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    No matter how smart you are, you have to do the work.

    Yup. If you don’t do it yourself, you don’t know much.

  9. Mac
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 8:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There appears to be some confusion over what the IAC is supposed to do.

    According to Ban Ki Moon, it is, “to conduct an independent review of the IPCC processes and procedures for preparing future assessment reports”.

    According to Robert Dijkgraaf, it is, “how we should organise climate research today.”

    Reviewing the IPCC is totally different from organising climate research.

  10. Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 8:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I suspect that “thousands of peer-reviewed and independent scientific studies“ is meant to imply that the peer-reviewed studies are independent sources of information, not that there are both peer-reviewed studies, and also non-peer-reviewed, independent studies.

    • philh
      Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Assuming you are correct on this: ‘independent” from what? From being the author of the paper and the author of the AR section? Not happening.

  11. Dumbfounded
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It appears that the strategy is to form several narrowly focused investigations that will find only minor errors. The consensus will be that these poor overworked scientists did their best under the immense pressure to save the world. The media can then resume the mantra of the “consensus on Global Warming” and ignore any real scrutiny!

  12. Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Those emails are not directly related to the work of the IPCC.”

    From: Phil Jones
    To: “Michael E. Mann”
    Subject: IPCC & FOI
    Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

    Mike,

    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
    have his new email address.
    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
    I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!
    Cheers
    Phil

    And of course there are the email discussions between Overpeck and others about hammering the MWP and the Holocene WP in AR4, discussed at CA recently.

  13. Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There needs to be greater transparency otherwise the public will lose interest in the whole problem.

  14. Mike Davis
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I read this as “Find evidence to support the IPCC position and actions, report that and show conflicting evidence does not matter” The e-mails and files from UEA were as unrelated to IPCC as a mother is to her child.

  15. Patrick Garcia
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I seems Dijkgraaf han’t read the Oxburgh report on the cliamtegate emails, where Oxburgh’s investigation uncovered negligence on IPCC’s part.

  16. David Holland
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    And of course there is this one.

    From: Phil Jones [mailto:p.jones@uea.ac.uk]
    Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:30 AM
    To: Wahl, Eugene R; Caspar Ammann
    Subject: Wahl/Ammann
    Gene/Caspar,
    Good to see these two out. Wahl/Ammann doesn’t appear to be in CC’s online first, but comes up if you search.
    You likely know that McIntyre will check this one to make sure it
    hasn’t changed since the IPCC close-off date July 2006!
    Hard copies of the WG1 report from CUP have arrived here today.
    Ammann/Wahl – try and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with.
    Cheers
    Phil

  17. David Holland
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    And this one.

    Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 11:25:25 -0600
    From: IPCC-WG1 <ipcc-wg1@al.noaa.gov
    >

    To: Jonathan Overpeck ,
    Eystein Jansen
    Subject: Additional In-Press Papers

    Dear CLAs

    Please find attached additional paper(s) that are
    relevant to your chapter and have been submitted in
    response to our most recent guidelines for
    consideration of papers published in 2006 following
    the expert and government review. A separate
    spreadsheet file is attached listing: the submitter,
    file name of the paper, its acceptance date, and the
    chapter and section which the submitter feels is
    relevant.

    As discussed in Bergen, please note the following:
    * inclusion of additional papers in the final draft
    should not open up any substantive issues that were
    not in the second draft and so not previously reviewed;
    * additional papers should only be used where in the
    view of the LAs doing so provides a more balanced
    coverage of scientific views;
    * we anticipate that a quick reading of the abstract
    of each paper will enable a decision consistent with
    this and we would not encourage any lengthy
    consideration by the LA team.

    One additional point to keep in mind is that this
    most recent adjustment of our publication deadlines
    should not be perceived by others as a device for
    allowing the LAs to reference more of their own
    papers. We trust that you and your team will be both
    objective and vigilant when deciding to include or
    reject papers in this respect.

    Best regards,
    WG1 TSU

    “this most recent adjustment of our publication deadlines should not be perceived by others as a device for allowing the LAs to reference more of their own papers.”

    True! this device had a much more specific purpose!

    • Mike Davis
      Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      David:
      I might be confused here but I do not recall a balance in the IPCC WG1 report. The additional papers seemed to mainly tip the scales away from balance.

  18. David Holland
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I emailed John Campbell at the IAC on 18 March 2010

    Dear Mr Campbell,

    I have read your press release of 10 March and the comments of Professor Dijkgraaf in connection with the IAC Review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I wish to make an evidence submission to you and would like to know if you wish receive it. If so, do you have any deadline or other requirements.

    I have not had a reply. Perhaps this is to be another enquiry that does not want to be confused by any facts.

  19. Dominic
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am amazed at how these two inquiries have passed with so little MSM attention being paid to how flawed they were. After all, it’s a good story and one that would interest lots of people.

    And it makes me think that there is a problem with how we sceptics communicate with the press. I do not think all journalists are unsympathetic. I just think they need to be helped.

    We should realise that most journalists are busy, under pressure and not given any budget to fund any time to do any proper research. It’s not good but that’s the way it is. If sceptics want to get their message across they need to learn how to deal with the press.

    We must also appreciate the fact that climate change is not a black or white issue. It is riddled with subtleties and absence of data and low levels of certainty – the sort of things which journalists hate. They want their articles to be new and interesting and to sound knowledgeable and authoritative rather than to be choosing their words carefully and inserting lots of caveats and caution. This makes the task of communicating much more difficult.

    Also, the format of the blog is one that requires time and effort to get into. Each posting here requires months of blog reading to understand and contextualise. New readers without time and a scientific background would find this blog pretty unintelligible (a bit less so now that Steve has been focusing on the post Climate gate issues).

    I thought that Bishop Hill’s excellent book might do it. But despite its readability, I know my wife who is Oxford educated but is not a scientist would never read it and that’s the audience that needs to be reached – the intelligent non-scientific layperson.

    For example, it might be worth Steve considering writing a short press release any time he has an important comment to say. The press release would need to put in context what he is saying and then make the points clearly and simply. The blog can be used for follow-up.

    Then he would need to send it to all of his journalistic contacts. I know it’s more work, but sometimes you have to do this. And I am sure all the NGOs do this – they know the power of managing the media.

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 2:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The problem, Dominic, is that this would require investigative journalism. Instead of reading the brief press release and re-gurgitating it almost verbatim, journalists would need to dig into the background and present the facts rather than the self serving opinions in a press release. Sadly, there are few journalists who engage in anything that could be called “investigative journalism” by the average person.

      The other sad part of the story is that most journalists took their last science and math courses in high school. They consequently lack the educational background to understand the esoteric issues which are discussed in this blog.

  20. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    They will have a new definition of openness.
    How can they improve anything when they do not know what the problem is. Do not expect them to look at both sides. Expect openness to be split – here is what you will see and then there will be in-camera sessions.

  21. EdeF
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 2:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I would suggest Mr. Dijkgraaf acquaint himself with either this blog,
    Andrew Montford’s “The Hockey Stick Illusion” (just finished it yesterday and I am very, very familiar with the interaction of the hockey stick team and the IPCC, especially the part about letting in late papers past the IPCC deadline), or he could go back to Nov. 28,
    2009 to read Christopher Booker’s great piece in the Torie-graaf:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6679082/Climate-change-this-is-the-worst-scientific-scandal-of-our-generation.html

  22. Patrik
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    OT: Has everybody read this article from Oppo et al:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2009PA001871.shtml

    They have found quite a strong link between changes in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool and in the Northern Hemisphere. Also, their results are strongly in favour for real non-hockey-stick:ish RWM and MWP.

    I don’t understand all the scientific lingo, but this quote is quite clear:
    “However, our data are unique in that they demonstrate in detail that many of the major climatic shifts noted historically in Europe had a significant hydrologic expression in the IPWP.”
    I.e. they find that for example the MWP wasn’t regional in Europe, but likely more of a global phenomena!

  23. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    **Specifically, we have been asked to address the following:
    1. Data quality assurance and data quality control at the IPCC
    2. Guidelines for the types of literature appropriate for inclusion in IPCC assessments, with
    special attention to the use of non peer reviewed literature
    3. Procedures for expert and governmental review of IPCC material
    4. Handling of the full range of scientific views
    5. Procedures for correcting errors identified after approval, adoption and acceptance of a
    report.**
    In #2 they note non peer-reviewed literature. So what will that cover?

    **We have also been asked to analyze the overall IPCC process, including the management,
    administration, and transparency of the IPCC and the way in which it handles possible errors and
    communicates them to policymakers and the public.**

    How will communication handling be recommended?

    **And now, I look forward to answering your questions.**

    And this is the best one. Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest letting them know what they should cover and read. This would avoid the limited material used by the last two reports. They will not be able to say they were unaware of any material, but they could repeat what they have already said – not related.

  24. justbeau
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is a wonderful blessing Dr. Dijkgraaf has seen fit to torpedo his own credibility by saying something patently false. He has denied the East Anglia people contributed to the IPCC reports. This false statement makes him a laughingstock.

    Dijkgraaf may be naive. Or, he may be misinformed. While it would be sad if he is lying, this possibility cannot be ignored. Whatever the reason among these three possibilities, none is praise-worthy. Dijkgraaf has his done great harm to his personal credibility.

    I am further encouraged by leadership from the Chinese academy of sciences. China relies on a lot of coal. I doubt China will accept the the Love Guru’s views. China will probably point out there should be more acknowledgement of uncertainties.

    • Lea
      Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Come on,Dijkgraaf has said no such thing,. He said the hacked emails “are not directly related to the work of the IPCC” While this is untrue,in no way is this equivalent to your contention “He has denied the East Anglia people contributed to the IPCC reports.”

  25. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 9:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks David Holland and Paul M for the examples. There is so much data. It’s always helpful to be specifically reminded.

    Dominic M. I too am amazed at how inept the MSM has been. However, a few are starting to do the work and are gaining a decent grasp of this very complex matter. There are some noteable holdouts identified from time to time on this blog. But I disagree with at least one part of your solution. No press releases from Steve M.! I propose that this blog has done rather well for itself and should persist.

    Dr. Dijkgraaf are you reading this? Please feel free to defend yourself. As you can see, your comment, “Those emails are not directly related to the work of the IPCC.” is really inexplicable for most of us.

  26. Charles DrPH
    Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 3:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I was hoping to see Lord Oxburgh speak at the Chicago Summit of the NAE Grand Challenges yesterday, but alas, the Icelandic volcano delayed his flight! Pity, I had been keeping all of your commentary in my back pocket.

    These are the presentation slides from the Summit talk by Dr. John Holdren, chief science advisor to Pres. Obama. These are very pertinent to our discussions and provide a very clear window into the thinking at the very top, please review and discuss;

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/jph-chicago-04212010.pdf

    • justbeau
      Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Dr. Holdren’s slides seem worthy of careful scrutiny in terms of shedding light on the latest thinking of and marketing by the Team.

  27. Pasteur01
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pachauri’s presentation to the Interacademy Council is available here.

    http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/

    On page 11 he provides a graph entitled “Cumulative balance of glacier mass.” Hasn’t he reversed the sign of the y-axis?

    • Pasteur01
      Posted May 14, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Got it. It’s the contribution to sea level rise.

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