IPCC Refuses to Correct Errors

Pielke Jr has an interesting post about more IPCC nonsense. He made four proposed error corrections to IPCC, all of which were refused. Which is the worst refusal is a bit of a beauty contest.

On balance, I think that my favorite is their reason for refusing to correct an inaccuracy in an IPCC press release. Their reason:

The January 25, 2010 IPCC statement is not part of an IPCC report, and the error correction protocol is therefore not relevant


  1. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #3 wins the beauty prize, no contest. The creator of the graph for the IPCC has said that he made it up for the IPCC and then miscited it to circumvent the IPCC publication deadline. Not good.

    • kakatoa
      Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply


      I concur with your assessment: #3 takes the cake as far as the worst breach of the scientific method/ethos. In the corporate world if Mr. Woods unsubstantiated work had been used to support marketing and sales materials (say of a press release on the summary of the costs and benefits of an alternative treatment regime for a medical condition) the folks at the FDA and the Justice Department would likely be more then a tad upset about the false claims used to deceive folks into purchasing the alternative treatment.

      The FDA and DOJ also get rather upset if upper management do not have processes in place to address error’s and inaccuracies is their marketing and sales literature. If they see comments like Steve’s recommended winner- “the error correction protocol is therefore not relevant.” they have a tendency to see nefarious motivations on the part of the management of the organization. When this happens trust in the organizations ability to manage itself get called into question and some corrective actions are forced upon the organization. If people actually died as part of these breaches in ethics the folks at DOJ have lots of avenues available to penalize the organization, their management and even the offending scientists who made up data.

  2. Eric Barnes
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Need anything more about the IPCC be said?
    At what point is the scientific community willing to stand on principle rather on future grant prospects?

  3. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I guess you’re not tired any more. I’m glad.

  4. Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think, at the risk of being labeled a conspiracy theorist, that it might be time to zoom out a bit, away from the weekly scandals and to look at the last couple of years.

    Starting at about the time of the formation of the Climate Rabid Reaction Team, we have seen a marked change in the behavior of committed advocates for the consensus.

    I would point to Anderegg, Prall et al, Mashey’s diatribe against Wegman, Hansen’s more recent paper on Xtreme Weather and now Lewandowsky as blunt force attempts to bull past skeptic arguments and forcibly imprint a theme that moves past, where it does not entirely ignore, arguments from skeptics, lukewarmers and even reasonable members of their own consensus to do in the media what they could not do in Copenhagen and Rio.

    With the possible exception of Hansen (which I cannot evaluate at this point as I still don’t know what he labels as one, two or three sigma weather events), they are characterized by a lack of scientific rigor and a palpable hostility to their opponents.

    What they’re doing to Roger Pielke now is very much of a piece with the rest of it. They’re quite clearly telling him to f*** off and leave them alone.

    They’ve clearly changed tack and are apparently recovered from the confusion and malaise engendered by Climategate and Copenhagen.

    I believe they’re burning more bridges than would be advisable.

    • AJ
      Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I believe Dr. Hansen’s paper also lacks scientific rigour. Specifically his temperature bell curves show a limited picture and is vulnerable to accusations of selection bias. Line plots of the means and standard deviations of 11yr moving periods would have provided a more complete picture. Note that a normal curve has two parameters: mean and stdev.

      I plotted the 11yr moving period stdev’s for USA48 from 1895:1905 to 2001:2011 using NCDC’s CONUS divisional temperature data. The result is that there is a very apparent multi-decadal oscillation, but no significant trend in temperature variability. Plot and turnkey R source code can be found here:


    • stan
      Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “They’ve clearly changed tack and are apparently recovered from the confusion and malaise engendered by Climategate and Copenhagen.

      I believe they’re burning more bridges than would be advisable.”

      Given they are burning bridges, it would seem they remain somewhat confused. I would liken the team to a hapless fighter pilot who has an opponent inside his OODA loop. No matter what they do the result leaves them in worse shape.

  5. theduke
    Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 11:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The January 25, 2010 IPCC statement is not part of an IPCC report, and the error correction protocol is therefore not relevant

    Not relevant to what? Furthering the pre-ordained IPCC narrative? Or the pursuit of truth in science?

    What, exactly?

    When they say “. . .is therefore not relevant,” I think they actually mean, “does not apply.” But they’ve never been known for precise communication skills.

    • Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

      What it means is that they are powerless to correct the error.

    • AJ
      Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

      What it means is that they can make stuff up without anyone being held to account.

  6. Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 1:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Clearly the IPCC aka The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert has learned absolutely nothing during the past three years.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 2:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

      au contraire, they’ve learned so well that they can brazen out just about anything and get away with it

      who’s going to stop them?

      • Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 5:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Furthermore, you are in danger of being called a full-blown nutcase denier if you go around the internets being all skeptical of the IPCC findings. All complaints of these problems will be listened to and rolleyes will be made.

        The circus goes on. Prepare for at least ten more years of this idiocy.

  7. katabasis1
    Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 1:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    With Roger, the IPCC and press releases in mind it’s well worth remembering the immediate fallout of the SREX report back in March / April, as I mentioned to you when you were in London, Steve:

    I’m sure we all remember Roger highlighting the most important take home points from the report:

    And yet, I remember being absolutely gobsmacked at the time by the difference between that and the media coverage. For example:


    I spent some time searching for the press release sources from which the Guardian and others had presented such a polar opposite case based on the report. I went through the laundry list of usual suspects, so imagine my surprise when the very last place I looked – the IPCC press releases – was the source of most of the cut and pasted alarmism supposedly resulting from this report:


    It just doesn’t matter what the report actually says. The “extreme weather” (and “extreme” everything, really) meme will just be mindlessly repeated. Just look at the output from the Guardian alone in the last year:

  8. Ian Blanchard
    Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 3:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Strictly, the response regarding error #1 is factually correct – the paragraph as written does not actually state that the trend in normalised damages became significant when the 2004 and 2005 data were included, although at first reading it does appear to imply such. Definitely though more a lawyer’s response than a scientist’s one though – the correction suggested by RPjr clearly removes any ambiguity and makes the statement more accurate.

    • Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 8:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      With respect to #1, here is a comment from the 2007 AR4 review process on this passage:

      “I think this is inappropriate. It leads the reader into interpreting recent events in a particular way without providing supporting information. This suggestion, that the losses in 2004 and 2005 draw Pielke’s results into question, needs to be supported with a reference or a solid in chapter assessment. What does Pielke think about this?”
      (Francis Zwiers, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis)”

      Here is the IPCC response to Zwiers at the time:

      “I believe Pielke agrees that adding 2004 and 2005 has the potential to change his earlier conclusions – at least about the absence of a trend in US Cat losses.”

      The IPCC lied then and are lying now. It is that simple.

      As indicated above, the IPCC explained the “but” in that sentence, and it was not referring to the timeline.

      • HaroldW
        Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It depends on what the meaning of the word “but” is.

  9. KnR
    Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 3:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Its a political body whose very existence requires the AGW scare , here it just acting in that role .
    I wonder having any ‘errors’ ever been seen which don’t support AGW ?

  10. TAC
    Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 6:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I vote for #3. All kidding aside, this is truly astonishing. Does the IPCC really argue that it is perfectly all right to violate its own stated policies? What?? That _cannot_ be true. Still, it is. Only Monty Python could improve on this.

  11. Craig Loehle
    Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Some years ago I had a single encounter with Chris Field. I don’t remember the scientific topic but I remember him saying something simply false, and I tried to discuss it, bringing up a counter-point. He simply acted deaf. No facial expression, no reply. Small sample of 1, but people who will not admit they are wrong are a big part of the present crisis.
    In contrast, Steve M. corrects mistakes. No one is free from error. It is only via debate and discussion that science achieves reliable results. Not from pronouncements from the anointed.

    • Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Not all anecdotes are equal and that for me is a very telling one Craig. It’s when governments have the same reaction to the IPCC that I think there will be change.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Sep 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Perverse as it may be, this is a valuable career skill for many people — they never need consider unwelcome information so long as they keep getting away with such behavior. Careerists plodding onward and upward on the rungs of bureaucracy….

      • JamesG
        Posted Sep 16, 2012 at 5:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Chris Field


        “Stanford researcher Chris Field to receive $100,000 Heinz Award [2009] for environmental science and leadership.”

        One of many such lucrative awards to academics whose predictions have been politically correct but (mostly) factually incorrect. The only real positive feedback in climateering is that the more apocalyptic you are, the more the establishment loves you.

One Trackback

  1. [...] The existence of ‘consensus’ around core claims of global warming is often cited as some kind of warrant for action. A recent article by Roger Pielke Jr reported the IPCC response to his attempts to correct biases and errors in AR4 in his field of expertise — extreme events losses. As noted at CA, he made four proposed error corrections to IPCC, all of which were refused. [...]

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